China Says It Killed North Korean Suspected of Illegally Crossing Border


Photo

A North Korean soldier patrolling along the border with China. The shooting on Thursday follows a series of violent episodes linked to North Koreans entering China.Credit Jacky Chen/Reuters

Chinese troops on the border with North Korea shot and killed a person early Thursday who was suspected of illegally entering the country, according to a government statement.

The person was shot shortly before 4 a.m. after resisting arrest in the town of Helong in Jilin Province, the town’s government said in a statement on its microblog. Helong is the same city where three residents were killed two months ago in an attack that heightened fears of cross-border crime by North Korean troops.

The shooting on Thursday follows a series of violent episodes linked to North Koreans entering China. A North Korean soldier armed with a handgun killed four Chinese villagers in December, then died in custody after he was shot by Chinese security forces. Once that incident was revealed, others came to light, including the killing in September of a family of three in China by a North Korean civilian.

China is North Korea’s only major ally, and it generally says little about crimes committed by impoverished North Koreans who enter China in search of food and money. The two-sentence Helong government statement offered no details about the identity of the person who was killed.

The violence along the border has led to some criticism in China that the government should respond more forcefully to North Korea. Global Times, a newspaper owned by the Communist Party, even complained in January that a lack of transparency by the Chinese government meant that the South Korean news media had broken the news of border killings ahead of Chinese outlets, and it questioned whether China was being too accommodating toward its neighbor.

The Chinese government formally complained to North Korea in January about the killings by the rogue soldier. Ties between the two countries have grown cooler over the past two years as the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has not shown the same interest in fostering relations with China as his father, Kim Jong-il. But Beijing is also reluctant to push Pyongyang too hard out of concern that it could set off instability or even a collapse of the North Korean state.



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