The iron “Broken Bridge” was built over the Yalu River in 1911 by the Japanese. It was the first iron bridge over this river – later it was partially destroyed by USA military forces during the Korean War in 1950. The Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge sits right next to the “broken bridge” and is the only bridge in Dandong to connect both countries and is in fact one of the few ways in and out of North Korea. A Beijing Pyongyang passenger train uses this bridge as does normal traffic (often trucks being the most common vehicles).
Today you can walk out on the bridge which ends in about the middle of the Yalu River. Without a visa to visit North Korea, this is about as close as you will get to this “closed country”. From the Dandong side you can easily see into North Korea – from the end of the bridge you are very close to the North Korean shores.
From the end of the bridge once can still see the twisted steel where the bombs dropped in the Korean War tore through. The concrete supports sit eerily alone as you enter North Korean soil – where the bridge used to be. At night the bright lights of Dandong come alive while the North Korean side remains completely dark other than a few stray lights. There are plenty of buildings on that side but with power at a premium lights are far and few between.