Kim Watch: North Korea’s special present for China

Two North Korean soldiers walking
North Korean soldiers have become increasingly brazen with their incursions into China. Last month, five crossed the border in search of food and money (source: dpa)

On July 28, 2016, five armed North Korean soldiers crossed the border into China to steal food and money. It was the biggest group of North Korean soldiers to cross the border for robbery so far. During an exchange of gunfire between the two countries, two Chinese border guards were seriously injured; several more were wounded. Two of the North Korean soldiers were captured.

Since about 1990, the economic gap between the two countries has been growing, while North Korea has become more volatile. As a result, these types of incidents have become more frequent.

The Chinese government forbade the news from spreading on social media, and local government officials knew exactly what to do – keep quiet. Since 2012, local Chinese governments have installed 500 HD CCTV cameras along the border, but the desperate North Koreans remain undeterred.

A more serious incident occurred in 2013 when a North Korean man crossed the border and murdered an old couple. He ransacked their house and stole several items before being arrested on his way to Beijing.

At the end of 2014, a North Korean solider broke into a Chinese farmer’s house near the border, killing four Chinese people and wounding another. He stole 100 yuan (about $15), ate some food he found in the house, and even took one piece of raw meat from the family’s refrigerator.

The Chinese government kept the incident secret and did not allow the media to report the story. Beijing does not want the two countries’ fragile relationship to worsen, and has tried mightily to sweep these incidents under the rug. These actions clearly show how, in officials’ eyes, the lives of the Chinese people they serve are worthless.

August 1, 2016 was the 88th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Perhaps these five nasty North Korean soldiers were a special, personal gift from Marshal Kim Jong-un.

In Kim Watch, GIS Expert Kati Kang shares her insights into the policies of Kim Jong-un. For more, click here.

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