Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide

  • Share
  • Read Later
Stuart Isett for TIME.

This North Korean refugee has been living illegally in China ever since crossing the Tumen river that separates the two countries.

The Tumen river divides North Korea and China along more than 500 km, rushing through broad valleys dotted with ramshackle farming villages and soaring mountain slopes of pine, fir and birch. In some places it pinches into a stream so narrow you can toss a stone to the other bank or wade across, at least before the summer rains start. Kim Kyung Sun has been back and forth so many times he has lost count. Last week he crossed into China from the North Korean side once again—he hopes for the last time.

Since famine first started driving...