China border feels tensions

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, December 22, 2010
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Zhao Yan was born during relatively peaceful times, not growing up around the violence and fear seen during the Korean War (1950-53) that his grandparents likely remember well.

However, Zhao, 22, now lives just a stone's throw from North Korea as relations on the peninsula have reached their worst point in more than 50 years, with the threat of nuclear war far from the back of every-one's mind.

He is just one of many Chinese who fear the escalating tensions may boil over, threatening their lives and those of millions of Koreans.

"I have grown increasingly worried for my safety given the current tensions," said Zhao, who lives in Linjiang city of northeastern Jilin Province next to Yalu River, which divides China and North Korea.

Other Chinese who know people living in the Korean Peninsula would prefer they not be there. That includes Jin Jian, 58, a resident of Yingkou, Liaoning Province, whose son and daughter-in-law are working in South Korea for a year.

"I told them to stop working there immediately, but they tried to comfort me by saying the situation there is not as bad as we see on television," Jin told the Global Times.

Huang Xianmin, a Liaoning official with the Bureau for Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation in the city of Dandong, was quoted earlier last month by the Voice of America as saying, "People in Dandong want peace on the peninsula because the development of North Korea will help Dandong's economy."

That sentiment also appears to be widespread online, with Web users in Dandong, located next to the border with North Korea, expressing their concerns.

"If a war breaks out between North and South Korea, China will have to handle a huge inflow of North Korean refugees," an Internet user wrote on a local news portal,

Another user wrote, "A war will be disastrous for people on the peninsula. Our city will suffer too."

Without citing a source, Singapore's Lianhe Zaobao newspaper reported Tuesday that China has readied troops in military regions of Jinan and Shenyang.

"Beijing has drawn up several contingency plans and will set the alarm level according to the situation on the Korean Peninsula," the report added.

When asked about the report, Senior Colonel Li Zhen, vice director of the International Communication Office of the Chinese Ministry of Defense, refused to comment.

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