Russia and North Korea have a tiny shared border, which Kim Jong Un just crossed — and you can take a look around on Google Maps

Google MapsPart of the Tumen River, which divides Russia from North Korea.
  • North Korea is entirely shrouded on Google Maps – but some parts just outside its border aren’t.
  • The country has a short border with Russia, which Kim Jong Un crossed in April 2019 to meet Vladimir Putin.
  • Parts of Linenaya Ulitsa, a Russian road bordering North Korea, is available on Google Street View.
  • Take a peek into North Korea through these photos taken along the road.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

North Korea is arguably the most secretive nation in the world.

It shares long borders with China to its north, and also with South Korea. But the third, and by far the shortest, frontier is an 11-mile stretch of land it shares with Russia.

Unlike the Chinese border, the Russian one has allowed access to Google’s camera cars, which can come pretty close to the Korea Russia Friendship Bridge (“Druzhny Bridge” in Russia), a rail link between the two nations.

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, likely crossed this bridge during his train journey to eastern Russia this week, where he will meet President Vladimir Putin for the first time.

Peek into North Korea from Linenaya Ulitsa, a road along its border with Russia, through these photos:

North Korea is notoriously secretive and hidden from Google Maps’ Street View function — all the areas not in blue can’t be accessed on the service.

Google Maps/Business InsiderMost parts of South Korea and Japan are well-covered, while east China, Russia, and North Korea are not.

The regions of Primorsky, Russia, and Josan-ri, North Korea, are divided by the Tumen River, a 320-mile long river along North Korea’s border with China and Russia.

Google Maps/Business Insider

There’s Google Maps imagery up to the tip of Linenaya Ulitsa, a road that stops just before the river.

Tourists in Yanbian, a Chinese prefecture that borders both North Korea and Russia, can peer into North Korea at a designated observation point, where you can see the Druzhny Bridge.

Welcome to Linenaya Ulitsa (ulitsa means “street” in Russian). According to these July 2013 photos, there isn’t much activity around here — mainly a lot of greenery.

Google Maps/Business Insider

Across the grass, you can see a bit of the Tumen River, which snakes around the northern North Korea, and borders China and Russia. This is the closest we can get to North Korea from Russia on Google Maps.

Google Maps

Most North Korean refugees try to escape into China via this shallow and narrow body of water, according to the Financial Times.

In the distance of this photo is also tall tower with a multi-tiered roof with upturned eaves – an architecture style common in ancient China, Korea, and Japan. To its left is a shorter building, which looks like a control tower.

Keep going along Linenaya Ulitsa, and you’ll see a gateway and a small hut.

Google Maps/Business Insider

Beyond the gate is a deserted lane, with some greenery concealing a few houses.

Google Maps

At the end of the lane lies a lone, small house, which appears to pave the way to more greenery. Google Street View imagery stops past this point.

Google Maps

The house overlooks utility poles and some more trees, which eventually lead to the Tumen River and eventually, North Korea.

Google Maps

All of this might look slightly different now, however – footage that emerged in April 2017 showed Russia sending tanks, troops, and at least three trainloads of military equipment to this region.


Daily Mail

Linenaya Ulitsa is the closest we can get to the Druzhny Bridge, which straddles Russia and North Korea. This 2003 photo shows it up close.

The Druzhny Bridge is reportedly closed off to tourists, but an Austrian travel blogger said he and his friend snuck onto it and entered North Korea’s Tumangang station in September 2008.

He said they were worried about their fate upon arriving at North Korea, but luckily didn’t run into any problems.

Source: Vienna – Pyongyang blog

On Wednesday, Kim Jong Un took his family’s armoured train and travelled to Russia for the first time. He will meet Putin in the southeastern port city of Vladivostok on Thursday.

Kim told Russian government officials, according to The Associated Press: “I have heard a lot about your country and have long dreamt of visiting it.”

“It’s been seven years since I took the helm, and I’ve only just managed to visit,” he added.

Read more:
Inside Kim Jong Un’s personal train – which is bulletproof, has all-white conference rooms, and its own red carpet ramp

He was presented with bread and salt in a tray upon arrival — a traditional welcome for an honored guest.

Kim said he hopes for a “successful and useful” visit in Russia, and is widely expected to court broader Russian investment and diplomatic ties with North Korea.

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