Rifles slung over their olive green uniforms, the North Korean border guards watch warily as the Chinese speedboat surges towards them across the Yalu river(È∏≠ÁªøÊ±üÔºâ. The boatman ignores them, drawing his craft within half a dozen metres of the bank and then, turning parallel, reduces speed so his passengers can photograph the dismal promenade of rusting hulks, motionless cranes and shoddy buildings on the outskirts of Sinuju, North Korea’s second biggest city.
It is a poverty sightseeing spot for tourists from the Chinese resort of Dandong, less than a minute’s boat ride across the river.
The contrast between the two sides could hardly be greater. On the Chinese bank high-rise hotels, noisy traffic and garish advertising hoardings are evidence of the dramatic change that the economy has undergone since it opened up to the outside world in the late 1970s. By comparison the North Korean side. [Full Text]