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5 Jul, 2009 09:25

Russian-North Korean border area residents have no worries over nukes

China and Russia have expressed concerns over an escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula. But even though Russia has a border with North Korea, residents in the area aren't very worried.

The Russian-North Korean border may well be the most peaceful corner of the world – a place where the sun melts down fears and the ocean washes away all worries.

A place where none would ever think of North Korea – if it wasn’t just a few dozen kilometers across the bay.

“Of course, it’s a bit worrisome. We can feel the tremors here from time to time. Radio waves can’t get through and the harvest gets worse each year. Maybe it’s because of rains that come here from their side,” says local resident Vladimir Medvedev.

But such worries are rare, especially on a sweet summer day. While locals still remember the incident a few years ago when debris from a North Korean rocket landed not far from the beach, few are afraid that will happen again.

Their concerns are of a different kind.

“I heard that, because of the tests, the weather may get worse, so I’m a bit worried about that. I really want to get tanned, so we don’t need any clouds here,” a girl sunbathing on the beach said.

Such a relaxed approach seems to have rubbed off even on South Korean tourists. A newly-wed couple were more concerned about their family budget than North Korean nukes.

“I think North Korea’s threats are empty. They are trying to scare the world to get a better deal for themselves, but I don’t think they would ever strike us. Actually, I don’t care about tests. What I’m really concerned about is the economy,” says Yun Soo Young, a South Korean tourist.

While Pyongyang’s nuclear tests may be the last thing on the minds of people living on the Russian-North Korean border, they have a reason to be concerned.

The border in question is about 50 kilometers away and, according to meteorologists, it would take less than two hours for a nuclear cloud to reach here from the Korean peninsula.

With Russia and North Korea sharing both a land and a sea border, Pyongyang’s nuclear games may be just a bit too close for comfort.