If you ever spend some days in Dandong City in Chinas Liaoning province and you don't know what to do except peeking over to North Korea, I can recommend a museum, which is one of a kind. Especially when it comes to its name: The Museum to Commemorate the War to Resist American Aggression and Aid Korea. Quite a long one, I have to say. And it sums up pretty much all that's to see there. I won't even start to discuss the political responsibility, who started the war and who committed war crimes and who is the winner. This is for historians to decide. When you stroll through the museum though, all these questions seem to be clearly answered. The Americans were the cruel enemy and the Chinese PLA was the hero and sole victor. To be fair, the museum is a nice place to spend some quiet hours away from the bustling Chinese reality. It is a little outside of the city on a small hill, offering nice views of the Korean landscape and the city itself (40.117104,124.358913 on Google Maps).
So what do we see there? Weapons, vehicles, uniforms and even planes used in the war. Personal accounts from both Chinese and American soldiers. Miniature reconstructions of various battlefields and of course a huge gift shop.
Watching the tanks and planes on silent display is a reminder, that not so long ago this part of China was stumbling from one war into the next one. The WWII, the Chinese Civil War and only a few years later the Korean War.
Anyway I definitely recommend this place, even for Americans and Canadians, whose parents or grandparents fought in the Korean war, just to get a different take on this conflict. Seeing for oneself, that the Chinese also suffered a lot, losing almost 150 000 men in the conflict. A conflict which casts its long shadow up until today. Looking over to North Korea from the entrance gate renders this last statement pretty real.