News / Asia

Business As Usual Along China-North Korea Border

(File Photo) North Koreans walk across a bridge over the Tumen river at a border crossing with Tumen in China's Jilin province August 29, 2010.
(File Photo) North Koreans walk across a bridge over the Tumen river at a border crossing with Tumen in China's Jilin province August 29, 2010.
TEXT SIZE - +
William Ide
— All was quiet Wednesday at a border check point in Jilin’s eastern city of Tumen.

A narrow bridge was open and several large cargo trucks lumbered across it to the North Korean side. Return traffic included a massive construction crane, heading back to China.

Across the Tumen River, which marks the border with North Korea, there were few signs of activity apart from a lone man wandering along the opposite bank.

But Chinese police quickly responded to the presence of foreign journalists. Shortly after arriving at the border outpost, police briefly questioned this reporter.

They said that, as appearances in Tumen suggest, all is calm. But they said they are there to keep journalists safe as well.

China’s northeastern province of Jilin is home to more than a million ethnic Koreans and many of them live in the city of Yanji. The streets in Yanji are full of signs written in Chinese and Korean. Even Communist Party slogans appear in Korean characters.

Yanji is a city that is tapped into North Korea and its economy. Few are overly concerned about the situation on the peninsula.

One woman, surnamed Li, said she isn't worried about the situation, but is following developments closely.

This man, a street cleaner, said he doesn't think it has reached the level yet where war could break out. He said right now there is no impact, but if war was to break out, Yanji would certainly be affected.

Accustomed to the ups and downs of North Korea's opaque rule, residents in Yanji find ways to add a little levity to the situation.

Some jokingly refer to the North's young leader as Kim San Wang or “King Kim the third.”

Despite the jokes, some said that with all of its rich natural resources the North could easily become prosperous if it just put more focus on its economy and less on the military.

And some believe that is already happening.

Chen, a delivery man, said Kim Jong Un's discourse seems to be very different. He said that while North Korea's leaders used to put the army first, now Kim Jong Un is saying he wants to develop the army and the economy at the same time. Chen said this is totally new.

Cities such as Yanji and the province of Jilin are looking to tap into that opportunity and have recently announced plans to build up infrastructure to improve links between China and the North.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid