April 10, 2019 13:20
China will set up its first 5G mobile technology-assisted checkpoint to tighten curbs on North Korean defectors and smugglers in the border region.
The move comes amid fears of a large influx of North Koreans fleeing their repressive country due to a worsening food shortage there.
According to China's State Immigration Administration on Tuesday, border guards in Tonghua, Jilin Province have signed a deal with the country's largest mobile operator China Mobile to set up the checkpoint at Yunfeng Reservoir in Jian, where it is normally difficult to watch and control a maze of road networks in the vast mountainous region.
It said the network, which is some 20 times faster than 4G technology, will make it possible to collect a vast amount of data including images from ground patrol vehicles, surveillance cameras, drones and satellites, and to operate state-of-the-art devices like virtual-reality glasses to monitor every nook and cranny of the area in real time with super hi-res monitors.
Jian, which sits midstream of the Yalu River from North Korea's Manpo, is a major smuggling route for people, goods and black money.
Meanwhile, a new bridge linking Jian with Manpo opened on Monday. The bridge was completed in 2016 but the opening was delayed amid international sanctions against the North. It has now opened to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Chinese travel agencies started selling one-day trips to Manpo the same day, though it remains to be seen how much official business will be allowed to flow across the bridge.
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