[Photos] Dandong replete with patrol cars and armored vehicles

Unification Media Group  |  2017-05-03 19:22
Patrol cars are parked all over the city, and formidable black lightly-armored vehicles belonging to Chinese public security officers patrol the Amnok (Yalu) riverside.

These are the scenes the special report team from Unification Media Group faced when they entered Dandong City (Liaoning Province, China) to report on North Korean human rights in late April. The Dandong citizens walking along the Amnok River appeared calm yet tense.

Dandong City is located at the estuary of the Amnok River and is linked to Sinuiju, North Korea, by an iron bridge. The city is a popular sightseeing destination where cruise ships can be taken across the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge to tour Sinuiju City (North Pyongan Province, North Korea). On weekends, thousands of Chinese and foreign tourists gather in the region. However, public security officers, patrol cars, and armored vehicles have now been deployed all over the city, curtailing its once tourist-friendly atmosphere.

Unconfirmed rumors in the state-run Global Times suggest that the central authorities have dispatched troops to the border areas. UMG asked a local guide about the situation, who replied, "From the middle of April, 100,000 Chinese troops have been mobilized to the border areas with North Korea. The region had previously been patrolled by border units, but were recently replaced by soldiers dispatched from the central army.

"The areas where people could once freely walk or ride a bicycle are now restricted. Police officers are not only patrolling the areas, but are also conducting high-intensity searches and questioning in order to strengthen border security," the guide added, noting that the deployment of central troops and strict traffic restrictions and control in the border areas are unusual measures for the Chinese government.

There are also rumors among the Chinese traders passing between China and North Korea that the number of North Korean troops in charge of the Amnok River region has also been increased. A source familiar with North Korean affairs in China told Daily NK on April 30, "Previously, there were two North Korean [army] companies guarding the riverside, but recently, more and more units have been dispatched to the area."

As North Korea continues to test launch missiles and the possibility of a sixth nuclear test lingers, tension along the border areas between the two countries is expected to continue.

*Translated by Yejie Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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