Dandong on the North Korean Border

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Dandong is on the Yalu River which forms part of the border between China and North Korea. It has a hearty mix of Korean and Chinese shops, foods and buzz.

There is a busy rail and road bridge between the two countries, alongside the remains of an older bridge which was half destroyed by “American” bombing in the “War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea”. The latter now forms a tourist attraction.

The Chinese side of the river (where I found happiness – refer previous post) is a long promenade with a hub bub of tourist and business activity, flags flying, and skyscrapers standing tall and proud.

The other side is mainly trees, one lone road with few cars, some factory chimneys and what supposedly is a ferris wheel and a roller coaster – neither of which moved in my two days there. Some big old boats were moored on the river bank but it was hard to see if they were still in commission. The appearance of a rare person caught the attention.

The contrast was striking and thought-provoking. It forces you to stop and reflect. One widely read young Chinese guy I spoke to expressed disappointment that things may not have turned out for North Korea the way China might have originally hoped. Who knows.

The Commemorative Museum on the top of a hillside park overlooking the river was really impressive, culminating in a 360 degree lifesize diorama of the Korean War. China and North Korea consider that they won the war and this place is a celebration of their heroes.

Almost everything was in English as well as Chinese and I read fascinatedly and took numerous photos of the English captions to compare with Western “records” in due course.

I finished an interesting day with a delicious Korean cold soup, some kebabs and a Yalu River beer.

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