[Photo] North Korea constructs new barbed wire fences to prevent defections in flood-hit regions

[As Heard in North Korea]
Kim Ga Young  |  2017-05-20 09:53
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"As Heard in North Korea" articles contain radio programming content broadcast by Unification Media Group [UMG], an independent multimedia consortium targeting North Korean citizens.

Daily NK has received an image of a barbed wire fence being installed in a border area of North Hamgyong Province, which was hit by massive flooding last year. The fences construction by the North Korean authorities is intended to prevent defections.

"Since early this month (May), about 8 North Korean soldiers have been seen planting concrete piles for the barbed wire fences in Sambongli region, which was hit by the floods last year," a source close to North Korean affairs in China told Daily NK on May 17.

"It is said that other flood-affected areas are also receiving the same attention from dispatched army units.

Most of the barbed wires in North Hamgyong Province were damaged or washed away by the flooding. Eight months after the disaster, the North Korean government has finally begun to repair the damage, seemingly in order to prevent defections.

For its part, China accelerated the repair of the barbed wire fences it lost on its side in October last year, only two months after the event, to deter North Koreans from crossing the river. 

"The guard posts stationed in the basin of the Tumen river and the trees and structures that concealed them were all swept away by the flood, affecting surveillance infrastructure. The installation of the barbed wire fences can be interpreted as an intention to deter river crossing attempts beforehand," a source in North Hamgyong Province explained.

When the barbed wire fences are completed, smuggling is expected to become more difficult, compounded by orders from the authorities to shoot would-be defectors on site. 

One analyst who declined to be identified noted, "If the wires are not electrified, people can still try and defect by cutting through them, but the sight of the installation itself is intimidating, and the authorities seem to be aiming for this effect."

On the left is Longjing City, China and Sambongli, Onsong County of 
North Hamgyong Province is the on the right.  The magnified circle represents the 
approximate area of the barbed-wire fence construction. Figure: Daily NK

*Translated by Yejie Lee
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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