Rajin – or as it is officially known, Rajin-Guyok – is a town in the north-east of North Korea that, combined with Sonbong, comprises half of the North Korean ‘super city’, and first ever Special Economic Zone of the country: Rason.
Rajin Railway Station was originally built by the Japanese in 1936, and represents one of the finest piece of Japanese Imperial architecture still in existence in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
In 1959, the Khasan – Rajin railway line was established, providing a permanent rail link between the USSR and the DPRK.
Whilst always remaining an important border town of North Korea, it was not until the 1980s when Rajin began to see more significance. Initially used as a practice run for how a future special economic zone might look, the hypothetical became the actual when the city was merged with Sonbong to form the Rason SEZ in 2000.
Rajin/Rason is also a strategically significant location thanks to its warm-water port, which does not freeze over in the winter (as opposed to the nearby Russian port of Vladivostok). The Soviets made considerable use of the port until 1991, and both China and Russia have long-term leases on port facilities today.
Rajin is separated into the following administrative regions:
Rajin-guyŏk (라진구역; 羅津區域)