North Koreans desperately trying to escape the impoverished dictatorship are being killed by mines planted along the border with China. News website Daily NK It tells how a group of five-person defectors split into two groups as they fled towards the neighboring country – but both set off landmines as they attempted to cross the Tumen border river. All five were killed or wounded. Another source speaks of the killing of three people in a mine explosion in the same area.
– When the mine exploded, an explosion was heard near Tumen. The source says there was nothing left after that.
They tried to cross despite knowing that there were mines in the area. They were so desperate to cross the river.
According to Daily NK, mines began being deployed in August, and are particularly frequent where the river is at its widest. As reported by the Asia Press news site timesReports say the border has begun to be excavated.
– A specialized engineering unit clears mines, according to a border guard.
The location and number of mines buried remain a secret. Therefore, even the border guards are afraid, because they do not know where the mines are.
More and more people are leaving North Korea
None of the certificates can be verified individually, but they give a picture of a country that more and more people want to leave. The vast majority of those fleeing to South Korea take the route via China. Before the pandemic, the North Korean dictatorship had somewhat loosened its control of the border with China, but the number of defectors – 1,047 in 2019 – declined rapidly in the years since. Last year, the number reached 67. This year, that number has risen again. However, not everyone who crosses the border into China defects to South Korea.
-Those who died may not have been going to South Korea. Maybe they just wanted to make money in China. The source told Daily NK that when they crossed the river in the hope of making a living, they were smashed into pieces and a funeral has not yet been held for them.
South Korea has also seen an increase in the number of people trying to reach the South using boats. The refugees were recovered alive and were found dead at sea.
– There is no doubt that the economic situation in North Korea, especially the food situation, has worsened, says South Korean Unification Minister Kwon Young-se.
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