◆ Chinese authorities bring North Korea’s warning to the attention of local residents
North Korean authorities have sent an official letter to Chinese counterparts, cautioning that border guards will fire without warning at hostile Chinese citizens if they commit “hostile acts” or dump potentially virus-spreading rubbish into the Yalu River. This information was first reported to ASIAPRESS on March 3 by a Chinese reporting partner living in Jilin Province.
According to the reporting partner, North Korean authorities delivered the warning on February 29, to officials of Changbai County, Jilin Province, on the Chinese side of the Yalu River.
The reporting partner explained, “The Chinese Border Guard then sent notices to residents of Changbai County, urging them to share the information widely. The notices warn not to approach the Yalu River, as the North Korean authorities have stated that they will fire without warning upon Chinese citizens who engage in hostile acts or dump sewage into the river, as a means of preventing potential coronavirus infection.”
According to the Changbai County resident, there have not yet been any cases of coronavirus infection across the border in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province. However, not a single resident of the North Korean border town has been seen by the river lately. The official notice sent by North Korean authorities has strongly demanded for the Chinese to prevent the virus from spreading by not dumping sewage into the river.
The Chinese Border Guard has now banned residents from approaching the Yalu River in order to avoid any potential incident at the border. According to the Chinese reporting partner, “the unusual North Korean warning is really a message to Chinese smugglers.”
The South Korean news outlet, Daily NK, reported on February 29 that North Korea’s State Security Department (secret police) had sent a similar message to Chinese authorities.
Currently, Changbai County is limiting residents from leaving their houses to once every two days as a means of preventing coronavirus infection. At the same time, authorities are strictly controlling access to the Yalu River to prevent the possibility of North Korean border guards firing upon Chinese smugglers or others.
In early February, a group of North Koreans who had been smuggling goods between Pochon County and China was arrested. Of the smugglers, the three who had made the trip to and from China were executed. (Kang Ji-won)
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