SEOUL, June 18 (UPI) -- Soldiers from China's People's Liberation Army have been deployed to defend its border against North Korean trespassers.
A source close to the border movements in China's northeastern Jilin province told Radio Free Asia a quiet area dotted with farms is adding PLA soldiers to stations solely manned by border guards.
South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported the new setup does not appear to be a temporary measure, according to the source who spoke Thursday on the condition of anonymity.
The construction of new stations along the border indicates China is taking action after a series of North Korean attacks on Chinese nationals in towns adjacent to the Tumen River.
Chinese soldiers recently shot and killed a person entering the country illegally from North Korea. In April, North Korean soldiers killed three Chinese nationals in the Chinese town of Helong. North Korean soldiers also killed four ethnic Korean-Chinese in December, according to Chinese authorities.
Beijing says very little about North Korean migrants who enter China to earn money, but according to South Korean newspaper Asia Business, the source said the long-term presence of China's national army indicates Beijing could be building up forces to defend against a sudden influx of refugees from the isolated country.
The source said the PLA soldiers "are everywhere" in the Chinese borderlands facing the North Korean cities of Musan and Hoeryong and the North Korean county of Onsong.
China has become increasingly irritated over the growing cases of crimes committed in China.
Prosperous China has become an easy target for North Koreans desperate for a means of survival.