China Is Preparing for an Influx of North Korean Refugees, Report Says

Lester Mason
December 13, 2017

The document, which Newsweek could not independently verify, said: "Due to cross-border tensions... the [Communist] party committee and government of Changbai county has proposed setting up five refugee camps in the county".

Japan's maritime Self-Defense Force said that the US, Japan and South Korea would hold two-day missile tracking drills from Monday, which is the sixth drill sharing information on tracking ballistic missiles among the three nations, Reuters reported on Sunday.

"Because the situation on the China-North Korea border has intensified lately, Changbai County government plans to set up five refugee sites in Changbai", the document reportedly stated.

"All relevant parties should do is still to completely, precisely and fully implement the relevant UN Security Council resolutions toward North Korea, and do more for regional peace and stability and to get all parties back to the negotiating table", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, Express reported.

President Donald Trump has maintained an ambiguous relationship with China, often blaming the latter for not doing enough to keep North Korea's nuclear weapons program in check.

The areas designated for the refugee camps were on state-owned land, and temporary housing had already been constructed at several sites, according to a local businessman who requested anonymity for fear of angering the local government.

However, any refugee settlements would mark a shift in China's policy towards North Korean refugees, who they have previously said are recognized exclusively as illegal economic migrants and if apprehended are sent back to North Korea to face nearly certain torture. Jilin province alone has a 200 kilometer (124 mile) border with North Korea and most of it is split by the narrow Tumen River, which is shallow enough to wade across in summer or walk on when frozen in winter. Jilin is just 95 kilometers (59 miles) away.

As a result of the rising tensions, one of China's most prominent experts on North Korea, called building the camps "absolutely reasonable". "What China does here is to be prepared for any kind of situation happening on the Korean Peninsula".

US bombers will fly over the Korean peninsula on Wednesday as part of a large-scale joint military drills with South Korea.

Following its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test on November 29, Pyongyang claimed the ability to strike anywhere on U.S. soil. The North said that the missile could deliver nuclear warheads anywhere in the continental United States.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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