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Yalu(yä`lo͞o`), Korean Amnok, river, c.500 mi (800 km) long, rising in the Changbai Mts. in Jilin prov., NE China, and flowing SW to the Bay of Korea at Dandong; forms part of the China–North Korea border. In places it is navigable for shallow-draft vessels, but its chief commercial use is for floating timber to sawmills. Several railroad bridges span the river. The Supung Dam above Sinuiju, North Korea, one of the largest dams in Asia, supplies hydroelectric power to China and North Korea. Chinese troops entered the Korean War by crossing the Yalu.
(Chinese, Yalü Chiang; Korean, Amnok-kang), a river that forms part of the border between China and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea.
The Yalu is 813 km long and drains an area of 63,000 sq km. The river rises on the slopes of the volcano Pai-T’ou Shan; it then cuts through the southern part of the plateau known as the Ch’ang-pai Shan and the western spurs of the Manchurian-Korean Mountains in a deep gorge before forming an estuary and emptying into West Korea Bay of the Yellow Sea.
The Yalu is fed by rain, and freshets occur in the summer. The river freezes over in the winter. The mean flow rate in the lower course is approximately 900 cu m per sec. There are reservoirs and hydroelectric power plants at Ungbong and Supung in Korea. Along the river are the cities of Hyesan and Sinuiju in Korea and Linchiang and Antung in China; the river becomes navigable at Hyesan, and oceangoing vessels can travel as far upstream as Antung.
The first land battle in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 was fought along the Yalu on Apr. 18 (May 1), 1904. The Russian forces—the Eastern Detachment of the Manchurian Army—were commanded by Lieutenant General M. I. Zasulich; they had 16,500 bayonets, 2,500 sabers, 62 artillery pieces, and eight machine guns. The main body of the detachment was defending the right bank of the lower course of the Yalu, from Sahodzu to Tiurenchaeng. The First Japanese Army, under the command of General T. Kuroki, had 34,000 bayonets and sabers and 128 artillery pieces. On April 18 the army crossed the river upstream from the Russian troops and launched an attack to turn the Russians’ left flank, which was defended by separate subunits of various regiments, with about 5,000 bayonets. The Eastern Detachment was defeated as a result of the enemy’s numerical superiority, the inadequacy of the preparation of the Russian positions, the dispersion of the Russian troops, and Zasulich’s poor leadership. The Russians lost approximately 2,200 men, 21 artillery pieces, and all of their machine guns before retreating to the Ch’ien Shan. The Japanese lost more than 1,000 men.
The success of the First Japanese Army on the Yalu made it possible for the Second Japanese Army to land on the Liaotung Peninsula and launch an offensive deep into Manchuria.