China is building refugee camps for up to half a million people and more military installations along the border with North Korea, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported last Saturday.
Last summer, Chinese authorities told the provincial governments in Jilin and Liaoning near the border with North Korea to build facilities that can accommodate up to 500,000 refugees, the daily quoted a Communist Party official as saying.
The provincial governments are reportedly stocking up on emergency food supplies and tents.
The Chinese military, meanwhile, is building three-story housing units and shower facilities for troops in Jilin, the paper said. Local authorities claimed that they are building the facilities to prepare for "theft" by North Korean refugees crossing the frozen river into China, but their real purpose seems to be to accommodate more troops who will tighten border controls in an emergency.
The plan for the refugee camps was leaked earlier this month in a document from the state-run China Mobile's Jilin branch office. The document, circulated on Weibo, reads in part, "We've checked network connection status in five locations, including ChangbaI, under authorities' plan to build refugee camps there."
Changbai sits across the Apnok River from the North Korean city of Hyesan and Samjiyon in Ryanggang Province.
The plans imply the first tacit admission by China that it may not always be able to protect the North Korean regime.
Read this article in Korean