onsdag 28. oktober 2020

Soldiers Injured as North Korea Deploys Landmines at Sino-Korean Border to Stop Escapees

Dozens of North Korean soldiers were injured in two separate incidents while they were laying landmines near the Sino-Korean border to block citizens from fleeing to China to escape grim economic conditions made worse by coronavirus controls, sources in the country told RFA.

Pyongyang has rolled out a series of aggressive measures since summer to block access to the 880-mile-long border, a conduit for trade, smuggling, and North Koreans seeking work in China or escape onward to South Korea. The border has been closed since January under COVID-19 prevention measures, compounding the hardships for residents of Asia’s poorest country. After beefing up the frontier guard corps with special forces, North Korea in August ordered border guards to shoot anyone within a kilometer (0.6 miles) of the border regardless of their reason for being there, among other tough steps to prevent citizens’ contact with foreigners during the pandemic.

In a move that shocked residents in China border regions that had never been mined, and was seen as a sign that the earlier measures haven’t stopped desperate escapees, troops have begun laying landmines this month in at least two provinces along the border, sources in those areas told RFA’s Korean Service.