July 25 (UPI) — Reports on Chinese military and government websites show Beijing is fortifying China’s 880-mile border with North Korea amid continued tensions between the hermit kingdom and Western powers.
China has been bolstering defenses at the border and realigning other forces in surrounding regions to prepare for a possible crisis, such as a potential U.S. military attack.
The Chinese border with North Korea rests along its northern Liaoning province, an industrial and mining center. Limited trade also occurs between China and North Korea through the border — primarily out of the Chinese city of Dandong and the North Korean city of Sinuiju.
Despite the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week saying “military means should not be an option to solve the Korean Peninsula issue” and that China “has maintained normal combat readiness and training status along the Chinese-North Korean border,” recent reports by its own authorities show China is enhancing its military contingency plans in preparation for a possible military conflict.
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman USMC Gen. Joe Dunford — one of the United States’ top military officials — this weekend said North Korea the United States’ most immediate foreign concern, citing the nuclear weapons program under Kim Jong Un‘s regime.
Dunford described military action against North Korea as having possibly “horrific” results due to a “loss of life unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes.”
In facing such possibilities, China — a longtime ally of North Korea — has taken action. A report on the official website of the People’s Liberation Army indicates a “newly formed border defense brigade” is lately conducting patrols to gather intelligence, assess the current situation and detail the border more accurately.
In another report, a Chinese Army newspaper indicates the “whole area” of the border has been placed under “24-hour video surveillance” with the use of drones, patrol cars and high-tech cameras. The report also said the military can access civilian video feeds in the area.
The Chinese Army newspaper also reports a brigade has implemented a “dynamic contingency plans” to properly handle situations.
The primary factor that has further deteriorated relations with North Korea’s regional neighbors and escalated tensions with Western powers is the regime’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, which it has repeatedly tested despite warnings.