A civilian drone, suspected to be from China, managed to breach North Korean airspace and capture rare footage of the city of Sinuiju. The captivating aerial photos and brief video clips, uploaded on Reddit last month, have stirred up quite the conversation online.

Although the authenticity of the content remains unverified, it’s believed to have been shot by a drone deployed from Dandong, Liaoning, China. The anonymous uploader claims the footage was shot during the 2020 pandemic lockdown period, with the drone flying over 1.6 km into North Korean territory.

중국 민간드론으로 찍은 북한 신의주시 거리 사진/ 레딧
Street view of Sinuiju, North Korea, captured by a Chinese netizen using a civilian drone/Reddit
중국 네티즌이 민간드론으로 찍은 북한 신의주시 거리 사진/ 레딧
Street view of Sinuiju, North Korea, captured by a Chinese netizen using a civilian drone/Reddit
중국 네티즌이 민간드론으로 찍은 북한 신의주시 거리사진. 마스크를 쓴 부녀가 드론을 쳐다 보고 있다./ 레딧
Street view of Sinuiju, North Korea, captured by a Chinese netizen using a civilian drone/Reddit
중국 네티즌이 민간드론으로 찍은 북한 신의주시 전경/ 레딧
Street view of Sinuiju, North Korea, captured by a Chinese netizen using a civilian drone/Reddit

The drone’s eye view reveals a cityscape featuring a building adorned with portraits of North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Propaganda slogans such as “Long live the beloved Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un” and “The great comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are with us forever” are visible on the building’s exterior.

The streets of Sinuiju appear eerily quiet, with barely any vehicles in sight. Images also capture ships docked along the Yalu River and masked residents going about their day, with a noticeable police presence. Some pedestrians can be seen gazing curiously at the drone.

The drone, assumed to be a product of Chinese company DJI, reportedly reached a maximum altitude of 120m. When queried about his safety, the anonymous uploader assured netizens that he was “still alive and free.”

Dandong shares a border with Sinuiju, separated only by the 2 km wide Yalu River – lending credibility to the drone operation theory. However, it’s highly unlikely that such a mission received official clearance from either North Korean or Chinese authorities.