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Border attacks raise tensions between China and North Korea

Mark Ralston, AFP I Female North Korea soldiers stand guard on the banks of the Yalu River which separates the North Korean town of Sinuiju from the Chinese border town of Dandong on December 16, 2013.

China, one of North Korea’s only allies, is increasing border security after violent attacks by North Koreans in Chinese border cities sullied relations between the two countries.

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The attacks are often committed by North Koreans who cross the border and proceed to extort money or food from Chinese citizens. North Korean police are sometimes behind the attacks.

For the past month, Chinese soldiers and police have been locking down the border region with check points.

In the past Chinese citizens could easily travel to North Korea without a visa, but now travel has been restricted and tensions are escalating.

Since 2012, 20 Chinese people have been killed in these cross-border attacks and Beijing has publicly threatened its Communist ally.

“China has launched a protest with the North Koreans and China’s Public Security Department will handle the case with accordance to the law,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

North Korea has also restricted travel, for unknown reasons.

Shannon Van Sant and Pierre-Philippe Berson visit the border region to give a full report.

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