A woman is washing in the Yalu River. She isn’t permitted to approach the riverside without clearance from the border guard. Taken by ISHIMARU Jiro from the Chinese side in July 2017. (ASIAPRESS)

In late July ASIAPRESS reporter recently visited the Yalu River on the Sino-North Korean border. Sakjoo County, in north Hamkyung Province lies across the river from China. The area resembles any other rural, peaceful place, but a closer look reveals endless rows of barbed wire along the North Korean side of the river. 

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The barbed wire is in place to prevent defections and smuggling between North Korea and China.

The Yalu River is a precious source of water for North Koreans. They use the river for washing, bathing and fishing. It is also a source of drinking water. The barbed wire separates local residents from the river and must be causing a great deal of difficulty for ordinary people.

Compounding matters, further upstream the wire has been electrified. A Korean Chinese who accompanied the reporter lamented: “The whole nation became a prison camp.” (ISHIMARU Jiro)

More and more barbed wire has appeared on the North Korean side in recent years. A boat is launched on the river for net casting. Taken by ISHIMARU Jiro from the Chinese side in July 2017. (ASIAPRESS)

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