>> This is Dandong, the Chinese trading town perched right beside North Korea. Sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over the north's weapons program mean business has been quiet here for a long time. But now a new wave of Chinese tourists keen to see North Korea for themselves has brought some hope.
Tour operators here say that many crossbordered day tours are now booking out within hours of tickets being released. Roider's Philip Wen recently traveled to the border to find out more.>> It is tourist peak season in Dandong at the moment, and travel agencies are saying that business is as good as ever.
That has given some hope to traders and businesses in Dandong. As the main trading hub along the North Korean border, Dandong has bore much of the brunt, and knock-on effects of the US sanctions against Pyongyang.>> Tourism's long been a major source of foreign income for Pyongyang and Chinese tourists make up around 80% of all visitors to the north.
The new wave of tourists could be one of many signs of better times to come, and local business owners are crediting North Korean leader's Kim Jong Un's recent turn towards engaging with China and the world.>> After his most recent summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Dalian in mid-June.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has spent the best part of a month traveling around and inspecting economic projects and factories along the Chinese border in North Korea. There is some hope that with Kim Jong-un's stated focus on economics and the appearance of wanting to genuinely denuclearize that the worst economically could be over for Dandong.
>> Property speculators are also hitting better times. House prices in Dandong have shot up so fast, local authorities imposed purchase restrictions on them in May but pragmatism still rules the day here. Many business owners also told Reuters that Kim's history of unpredictability meant they still held, quote, wait and see attitude to cross border trade.