Along the North Korean Border

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With much of the world’s attention once again focused on North Korea, many international photojournalists are doing their best to cover the reclusive country. However, North Korea still tightly restricts the movements of visiting journalists within its borders, and controls what can be photographed. For photographers looking in from just over the border, there may be more freedom of movement, but the subjects in North Korea are aware they are being watched, with many looking back—sometimes giving a smile and wave, or sometimes throwing rocks. Gathered here are photographs from the past few years of North Koreans seen just over the border from parts of China and South Korea.

North (right) and South Korean soldiers look at each other through a window of a conference room in the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission Conference Building at the truce village of Panmunjom, South Korea, on March 30, 2016. North Koreans unload stones onto a track on the bank of the Yalu River near the Chongsong County of North Korea, opposite the Chinese border town of Hekou, on June 15, 2009. A North Korean soldier smiles near the town of Sinuiju, as seen from the opposite Chinese border city of Dandong, on January 6, 2016. # The sun rises from the North Korean side of the Yalu River near the town of Sinuiju, seen from Dandong, China, on April 1, 2017. # A man and boys enter the water on an ox-cart from the North Korean side of the Yalu River, just north of the town of Sinuiju, North Korea, on March 30, 2017. A North Korean soldier stands guard on the banks of the Yalu River, near the town of Sinuiju, on November 23, 2010. # A North Korean soldier walks with pigs at a watchtower on the Yalu River in Sinuiju, North Korea, on April 15, 2017. # A North Korean soldier gestures to a Chinese vehicle on the banks of the Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, on May 27, 2010. The sun rises through fog over the Friendship and the Broken bridges over the Yalu River connecting Sinuiju, North Korea, and Dandong, China, on March 30, 2017. A North Korean soldier climbs trees on the banks of the Yalu River across the river from Dandong in northeast China’s Liaoning province on November 25, 2010. North Korean children react to the photographer on the bank of the Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, on December 16, 2006. A North Korean soldier stands guard along the bank of Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, on May 1, 2014. # A North Korean village in Kaepoong county, on the north side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, and a South Korean guard post (bottom) are seen in this picture taken from south of the DMZ in Paju, about 50 km (31 miles) north of Seoul, on December 22, 2010. North Koreans stand on the banks of the Yalu River, near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, on May 2, 2015. # A North Korean soldier looks at a window as she stands along the bank of Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, on September 19, 2013. A North Korean soldier points his weapon at the photographer as he trains on the bank of the Yalu River in the North Korean town of Sinuiju, on December 19, 2006. A North Korean soldier waves as a Chinese river cruise boat passes by on the Yalu River at the North Korean town of Sinuiju, on October 9, 2006.