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The Friendship Bridge connects Dandong, China, and Sinuiju, North Korea. Photo: Andy Wong / AP

Along China's side of the 900-mile border it shares with North Korea, tension and resentment of the neighboring regime are slowly building.

The economy in China's underdeveloped Northeast, which lags far behind the prosperous urban centers, has taken a huge hit due to sanctions. Where do locals place the blame? While they fear military action by President Trump, their anger is directed squarely at Kim Jong-un, whom they hold responsible for heightened friction.

In the border city of Dandong, where shop signs are in Korean and local vendors sell North Korean cigarettes and beer, traffic and trade have dwindled, though the Friendship Bridge across the Yalu River is not quite closed, despite claims by central authorities in Beijing. Ambitious development projects begun in partnership with Kim Jong-un's China-friendly uncle, Jang Song-taek, were shelved after Jang was executed for "counter-revolutionary" activities.

Meanwhile, fears of basic security still loom over these communities. A local newspaper recently published a primer for residents on how to deal with radioactive fallout from an accident or airstrike against North Korean nuclear sites.

Why it matters: As China's old alliance with North Korea erodes and its fear of nuclear fallout grows, there is an opportunity for meaningful U.S.–China cooperation to stop the threat from Kim Jong-un.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.