Neighborly visits on border

Updated: 2015-04-27 07:34

By Erik Nilsson(China Daily)

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Neighborly visits on border

DPRK women attend a cross-border trade fair in Dandong. [Photo/China Daily]

That said, our dog meat was getting cold.

China's largest border city, Liaoning province's Dandong, enables visitors to (sort of) experience and even technically enter the DPRK without actually setting foot on the country's soil. You can visit the city's DPRK-operated restaurants, buy the country's products or enter its territory by cruising the shared Yalu River.

Most tourists yearning to glimpse the country visit DPRK's demilitarized zone.

Yet this offers fewer-and Dandong offers truer-vistas.

Dandong is a place where even Americans can disco with people from the DPRK after a meal.

Call it dinner-and-dance diplomacy.

We lunched in a Chinese-run riverside restaurant with panoramas of the DPRK.

Hours before, we hopped aboard a cruise from Hekou that coasts alongside DPRK's banks.

It sets sail from under the Broken Bridge the United States bombed during the war. Mao Zedong's son Mao Anying crossed the passageway to fight. He died in battle.

Today, a DPRK soldier waved from atop the crumpled corridor. Cruise passengers can watch DPRK guards patrol. Farmers seed terraces and tow oxen. Villagers ride bicycles and motorcycles.

Women scrub clothes in the watercourse. Children scamper over stones.

We also saw a hospital, terraced hills, village houses, a prison, a coal mine and a military basketball court.

A tour guide points to what she identifies as the DPRK's second-largest industrial city-a handful of multistory buildings across the Shaping Bridge.

Fish farms line both sides.

People from both countries may swim in the shared river but can't climb the banks.