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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 13:37 PM | 19-01-2018

China preps for N.Korea crisis

China has ramped up security along its border with North Korea, installing new surveillance cameras, deploying extra security forces and operating radiation detectors as it braces for a potential crisis, AFP reported on Friday (Jan 19, 208).

Bellicose rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang has raised fears in China of a conflict that could send millions of North Korean refugees across the 1,420-kilometre (880-mile) border, and of nuclear fallout that could hit Chinese towns.

While authorities have been coy about preparations, residents have seen an increase in patrols along the frontier.

Radiation monitors are running in border towns, and locals say interactions with North Koreans have been discouraged.

A red banner tacked to a border fence in Dandong -- a major trading hub separated from North Korea by the Yalu River -- has a Cold War-like message to residents:

“Citizens or organizations who see spying activities must immediately report them to national security organs.”

Outside Dandong, new checkpoints dot the road running along the Yalu River. Locals say they were installed in October.

“Before, the North Koreans came to our side to fish. Now they don’t dare,” said Zhang Fuquan at his fish farm on the Chinese side of the Yalu River.

“The army patrols and watches.”

On the opposite bank, North Korean soldiers peered out from turquoise watchtowers and at least one warplane surveilled the territory from above.

Experts said the aircraft, spotted by an AFP reporter, was a Stalin-era Ilyushin Il-28 light bomber or a Chinese copy.

“The North Koreans very likely are flying a patrol along the Yalu,” said Rick Fisher, a fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, a US-based think-tank.

“They want to see what they can on the Chinese side” and deliberately “raise Beijing’s alarm.”

Relations between China and North Korea have deteriorated as Beijing has backed a series of UN sanctions to punish its secretive ally over its repeated missile and nuclear tests.

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