Outside perceptions of life in North Korea are usually reserved to the country’s capital, Pyongyang, with its showcase apartment blocks and grand monuments to beloved leaders past and present.
Save for the tourists who may get the occasional excursion to a coastal city or rural village, most people think of the capital when they think of the DPRK.
In the DPRK’s northeast, where one of the world’s most isolated countries meets China and Russia, life is very different. A hotspot for defections, the black market, and North Korea’s rapidly changing relations with its neighbors, the towns along the Tumen River and the border don’t get a lot of coverage.
And when NK News obtained photos taken in February from the Chinese border of this little-covered region, we wanted to find out what life is like in North Korea’s borderlands, where a vast majority of defectors now come from.
For Suhyang Park and Jeson Hoang, who defected in 2012 and 2011 respectively, this was the North Korea they knew best, only visiting the capital once or twice in their lives.
So what do they make of life on the frontier these days?