As tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to fester, China's role has become more imperative than ever in restoring hospitable relations and a peaceful balance. In An Inconvenient Border: Where China Meets North Korea, ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff travels the 880-mile border shared by China and North Korea, and hears valuable perspectives on their delicate and complex relationship.
At one time, these two countries shared a harmonious collaboration. The partnership began to disintegrate with the ascendancy of Kim Jong-Un in 2012. Notoriously reclusive, the North Korean leader has made precious few attempts at outreach to Chinese president Xi Jinping, even though his country remains strongly dependent upon China for trade. Evidence of this is present throughout the film, including a segment that explores a uniting bridge - set in place during the previous regime - which now sits abandoned.
Interviews with Chinese citizens confirm a feeling of suspicion towards their neighboring country. As curious onlookers peer through binoculars at seemingly mundane activities taking place across the border, they're warned not to snap photos or in any way agitate the North Koreans.
Of course, recent headlines have alerted the world that all activities are not banal on the other side of that border. It appears as though Kim Jong-Un has become increasingly unhinged, and his relentless nuclear tests have further inflamed the patience and tenor of relations in the region. On some sections of the border, the Chinese have felt the tremors of each blast, stoking great fear and greater hopes for a peaceful resolution.
The film offers viewers an inside look at the trade operations that continue to thrive in spite of recently announced sanctions, the thousands of Chinese military who stand ready at the border to thwart approaching defectors from the other side, and the startlingly beautiful vistas that separate both countries.
An Inconvenient Border: Where China Meets North Korea is most illuminating in its portrayal of prevailing Chinese attitudes towards North Korea and its questionable tactics as of late. Each interview subject shares their thoughts and concerns over the recent slate of missile tests, the motivations that they believe may drive the North Korean dictator, and the possibilities of avoiding additional escalations of this frightening conflict.