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.
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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More