China has ordered the “urgent” recruitment of Korean-Chinese interpreters in a town near the North Korean border as Beijing prepares for an onslaught of refugees in the event of a U.S. military strike against Pyongyang.
A Chinese government document obtained by the Korea Times orders “the town of Dandong to recruit an unspecified number of Korean-Chinese interpreters to work at 10 departments in the town, including border security, public security, trade, customs and quarantine.”
The document suggests Beijing is “bracing for an emergency situation” arising out of a “possible military clash between the United States and North Korea” which would trigger a “huge exodus” of North Koreans fleeing to China, according to the report.
Officials in Dandong have also been put on rotating night shifts since April 25th in preparation for the emergency.
China is already home to some 100,000 North Korean defectors and Beijing is unlikely to welcome a large wave of new refugees.
Previous reports stated that China had sent 150,000 troops to the North Korean border, although Beijing denies this.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly indicated that the U.S. will strike North Korea if the Stalinist state carries out a sixth nuclear test.
On Sunday, North Korea threatened to sink a nuclear-powered submarine that has been deployed to the region.
“The moment the USS Michigan tries to budge even a little, it will be doomed to face the miserable fate of becoming a underwater ghost without being able to come to the surface,” the North’s propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said in a posting.
Japan is also set to deploy a helicopter carrier that is authorized to use weapons to escort and protect a US Navy supply ship heading towards the Pacific to resupply the American armada sent by Trump.
Tokyo’s authorization of the ship’s “necessary use of weapons” is the first such instruction since World War II.
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