Note: Both China and North Korea are known to be very careful with the information the leak out to the rest of the world. Whatever media might get, could be manipulated. 

The Yalu River

The Yalu River near Dangdong, China

Every statement is based on reports linked in the article. A lot of the information is the author’s assumptions.

The border between China and North Korea is a bond of trust between the two nations. It is not heavily guarded, however both goods and human travel the 1,420 kilometres long border. It is divided by the Yalu River, Tumen River as well as a small portion of the Paektu Mountain. The border was heavily hit during the first Sino-Japanese War and the Korean War. The are only three train stations, being used for trades mainly, and are, to this day, the only trade partner of the dictatorship.


During the first Sino-Japanese war, the border between China and Korea was heavily influenced by war. Both China and Japan fought over who should rule over Korea. Most of the confrontations happened right on the border, however there was a war coming that would change Korea and their relation to the rest of the world.

The Korean War changed Korea and divided it in two. Here as well, battles were fought at the border. There probably are tons of markings from the war, especially in the rivers. Korea got divided into North and South. North remained a communist nation, and later isolated itself from the rest of the world. Today still, they are isolated and China works as their only connection to the world.  

Border Stone

A stone on the border near Jilin, China

During the 90’s North Korea suffered from a great famine, and the situation was critical. They turned to China for help, and so, a trading route with a lot of secrecy was created.

Points of ViewEdit

Both of the sides have their own opinions on what should be done at the border, however both of the nations are seen as trade partners and are fairly peaceful.

 Chinese point of viewEdit

China has never been the dominant nation in a trade. North Korea is heavily dependant on China, and needs whatever they are exporting. Exactly what they are trading is unknown, and only a number of people in the world knows what is on those trains. One can guess however, that it might be western consumables and technology. Computers and vehicles are known to be a huge need, and pictures of German cars has been taken in Pyongyang. The relationship has been tense at times as well. Reportsof an abduction of a fishing boat in 2013 where North Korea demanded 600,000¥ (~100,000$) for a safe return of it. This was not however, the first time North Korea has done this. They have taken fishing boats a number of times in the past as well. This shows the desperate state North Korea finds themselves in.

North Korean point of viewEdit

North Korea and China

China, green, and North Korea red

As for North Korea, they have been under huge pressure many times. During their famine they were desperate and needed someone to help them out of the crisis. China worked as their partner, however they are heavily dependent on them. This leaves a lot of power in the hands of China, and makes North Korea do desperate things, like abducting fishing boats on the border.

Push and Pull FactorsEdit

For the inhabitants of North Korea, the main reason for people leaving the country might be rumours. It is known that information of outside conditions has been compromised, and that they are lucky to live in such a good country. While that might not be true, most people see no point in leaving at all.  There are however rumours going around. Tourists are well controlled within that country, so there might be roamers from China, curious on how things are in North Korea. While human trafficking might not be the biggest issue between the two countries, trading sure is. North Korea is really dependant on China to receive goods and intel on the world. The dictator, Kim Jong-Un, didattend school in Switzerland, and needed escort. He most likely flew over China before landing in Switzerland with an alias.

As for China’s part, looks suggest they benefit from the situation mostly. There are only a few examples on confrontations, and fishing boats is as far as they are going, to this point at least. They are sitting with a lot of power, and control over the situation. I think they benefit greatly from trading, even weapons and bombs that might be used against them.

The small amount of human trafficking that is happening, I think it is mostly Chinese who are either on illegal business, or are curious, or Koreans that are exploring whether or not the rumours are true. It is known that a lot of Korean defectors have travelled across the border, and attending meetings in China.


The security on the border seems to be minor. Neither of the nations offers a lot of resources. Lately however, it seems that both of them have stepped up the security, especially China that have been prone to abductions of fishing boats.

In 2006 it was reportedthat China erected a big fence along the Yalu river.

In 2007 reportstold that China was expanding the fence building, and set up fences on key spots along the entire border.

Later in 2007 reportsshowed that North Korea started fence building on the opposite side of the Yalu River, where China built the year before.

In 2011, it was reportedthat China had started reinforcing the fences along the Yalu river. They were reported to be four metres high (13ft.) and a journalist said that “anybody could cross if they really wanted."


As far as crime goes, trading weapons and technology to make bombs is fairly illegal. We don’t know what goes through the border, and reports might be as wrong as they are bold.

North Korea poses a small threat to the world, as they have threatened to nuke everyone. They have only stolen a number of fishing boats, as well as coming with empty threats


General hisotry and geography




The rest are added as I make claims throughout the article