Where three countries meet

Our trip to the borderland last weekend took us to the end of the line, on the borders separating China, Russia, and North Korea.

This is the general area where we were:


And here’s a zoomed-in picture:


As you can see, even Google Maps has difficulty distinguishing the borders. On the ground, though, it was much clearer. Barbed-wire fences clearly marked the borders.

The Tumen River separates China and North Korea. On the Chinese side of the river, a barbed-wire fence keeps refugees from crossing the river.


On the other side, a Concertina wire fence separates China and Russia.


At one point, we were driving on a road where we could see the barbed-wire fences on both sides of the road. We were driving along a thin strip of China, between Russia and North Korea.

An old post marks the border that was agreed upon between Russia and China in the 1860s, but it’s on the other side of the fence, so it clearly doesn’t mark the current border.


A sign along the river reads “Illegal crossing of the border will be met with severe legal prosecution,” in Chinese and Korean.


From a lookout tower, you can see Russia on the left, China in the middle, and North Korea on the right, across the river. Three countries meet on this little strip of land.


The bridge across the river is for trains that run between Russia and North Korea.


We saw a train approaching from the Russian side, moving toward North Korea. We all got excited and though that we would see the train leave Russia and enter North Korea. But then it stopped just before the bridge. We think it got help up in customs and immigration.



Proof that I was there: that’s North Korea in the background.

In another place along the river, there is a foot bridge connecting China and North Korea. Apparently, the border is in the middle of the bridge. You can walk halfway across the bridge, but not all the way across.


“National Border”

You have to buy a ticket to go on the bridge. Buy when I went to the ticket office to buy a ticket, the person in the booth (who was wearing a military uniform), sternly told me “Foreigners are not allowed!”

So we had to settle for taking pictures of the bridge instead.


There is a group of Chinese tourists on the bridge, just at the mid-point. The end of the yellow lamp posts marks the end of the Chinese side of the bridge.

I have had a morbid fascination with North Korea for a many years. After this trip, I think it’s out of my system and I can move on.

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