China deploys 150,000 troops on Korean border
* Unidentified security source says military deployment aims to deter
Pyongyang from nuclear build-up
* Move to push DPRK into holding talks with US
* Will stifle mounting violence of soldiers
HONG KONG: China has deployed up to 150,000 troops on its border with North
Korea to deter Pyongyang's nuclear build-up and to stifle mounting violence
from rogue North Korean soldiers, a report here said Sunday.
Hong Kong's Sunday Morning Post cited an unidentified security source in
China as saying five divisions of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA)
troops had been deployed in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, bordering
North Korea, since last month.
Large troop movements and new military barracks have also been seen in the
border towns of Hanchun, Tumen, Kaishan, Sanhe and Baijing, while air force
jets have frequently been seen flying over the capital Yanji, some 40
kilometres from the border, the report said.
The source said troops were also in the area to help stem the flow of North
Korean refugees fleeing to China to escape a long famine and recession in
the hermitic state.
China's foreign ministry last week refused to confirm or deny the deployment
of PLA troops to the area.
"I have not heard any information on the deployment of troops along the
border with the DPRK (North Korea) by China as you mentioned," ministry
spokesman Kong Quan told a routine briefing Tuesday.
Hong Kong's Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily has earlier reported that three
PLA units - each with 50,000 troops and including armoured divisions - had
been deployed along Chinana's 1,400-kilometre border with North Korea.
The paper quoted a Chinese foreign ministry source as saying that the move
had been aimed at deterring North Korea from continuing its nuclear build-up
and to pressure Pyongyang into holding talks on the nuclear crisis with the
Top negotiators from the United States, North Korea, South Korea, Japan,
China and Russia met in Beijing in late August to discuss the 11-month
crisis over Pyongyang's suspected nuclear weapons programmes. The meeting
made little headway, but more talks are expected.
The Sunday Morning Post said that while the mobilisation of PLA troops was
seen as a strategic move, residents of Yanbian prefecture also believed they
were there to halt a growing number of violent crimes allegedly carried out
by North Korean soldiers.
Yanbian police said the violence began two years ago after Beijing launched
a campaign to repatriate illegal North Koreans in the country, according to
Atrocities allegedly involving North Korean soldiers include the murder of
three ethnic Korean villagers in June last year and an incident on January
23 when a North Korean opened fire on Banshi village residents with an
assault rifle before fleeing across the border, the report said. -AFP
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