According to the prominent Seoul-based daily newspaper Korea Times, Kim Yong-hwa, head of the North Korea Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea, witnessed a North Korean defector shot to death by North Korean border guards on Chinese soil shortly after the defector crossed a border river.  He believes the man was probably North Korean, since the guards would not presumably not dare to shoot a Chinese on Chinese soil. This rare incident showcases the North’s increased efforts to ensure its people do not escape. The North has installed surveillance cameras and reinforced barbed wire on its northern borders close to China as these border areas are key routes for defectors to flee to China and eventually reach South Korea, already home to more than 22,000 refugees. The tragic incident appears to be another example of North Korea attempting to maintain control as aging, ailing leader Kim Jong-il’s seeks to transfer power to his successor son, Kim Jong-un.
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The Korea Times