Leaked document reveals plans for North Korean refugee shelters by China's border


In anticipation of rising tensions along the northern border of China, Shanghai county began constructing five refugee camps to house a possible influx of North Korean defectors. The China Mobile Group uploaded a document onto the Chinese microblogging website Weibo, stating that local branch manager Mr. Shanghai Fu has surveyed possible construction areas for the potential North Korean refugee camps. 
The validity of the document is unknown, but some reporters think that the referencing of Mr. Fu in the document and the document’s language suggests credibility.

A document detailing construction plans appeared on the microblogging website Weibo. Courtesy of abc.net.au.

Recent ongoing ballistic missile launch tests carried out by North Korea inspired what is called “North Korean Refugee Settlement Plans.” This name is indicative of a larger, ongoing project, according to The New York TimesChina requested that the mobile communications company provide internet services to the specified areas.
According to the online document, villages in Changbai county and the province of Jilin are expected to house the refugee camps due to their geographical location and past interaction with North Korean refugees who crossed the Tumen river, according to theguardian.com The document also states that the camps will be able to accommodate 500,000 refugees, according to asia.nikkei.comA local anonymous businessman disclosed that government officials in China have already begun construction in certain areas, according to time.com.
CNN Military Analyst Mr. Cedric Leighton explained that China has attempted to maintain a stable relationship with the United States to prevent further aggravation to Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea Mr. Kim Jong Un’s regime, according to express.co.uk.
“China is trying hard to exercise what leverage they can over North Koreans,” Mr. Leighton said, “but they want to make sure that they don’t set up conditions that would allow for the collapse of the North Korean regime.” 
United States Secretary of State Mr. Rex Tillerson addressed the Atlantic Council December 12, and expressed interest in conducting negotiations with North Korea to de-escalate increasing nuclear action, according to CNN.
In response to Mr. Tillerson’s request to negotiate with North Korea, Mr. Zhang Liangui, a professor of Strategic Research at the Communist Party’s Central Party School, connects the rising tensions between the two countries to the validity of the information that the document provides.
China chose the counties of Tumen and Changbai to construct the refugee camps. Courtesy of theguardian.com.

“It is highly possible that there is a conflict between North Korea and the United States now,” Mr. Liangui said.
Mr. Liangui views the construction of the camps as China’s acceptance of the possibility of instability in North Korea, and is preparing for the possibility of nuclear disaster between the U.S and North Korea. An event like this would be catastrophic and would likely result in an influx of North Korean refugees, according to The New York Times. 
-Nina Rosenblum, Opinions and Podcast Editor