Chinese soldiers kill North Korea ‘border-crosser'

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese soldiers on Thursday shot dead a man suspected of crossing into the country from North Korea, officials said, the latest of several deadly incidents along the frontier.

A "suspected illegal border-crosser" was shot early in the morning after he "resisted arrest," an official microblog account of Helong county in China's northeast Jilin province said.

The incident occurred in Yanbian prefecture, where Chinese agents shot a North Korean soldier who reportedly killed four locals after crossing the border in December.

Reports at the time said North Korean soldiers had often crossed the border to demand money and food from villagers on the Chinese side.

Yanbian is home to a large number of Chinese ethnic Koreans, as well as refugees from North Korea.

China Defence News said earlier this year that it had established "militia patrols" to guard border villages with 24-hour video surveillance.

Tens of thousands of North Koreans are estimated to have fled famine and repression over the past six decades to settle in the capitalist South.

Most cross the increasingly porous border with China before secretly travelling to a third nation - often in Southeast Asia - where they seek permission to resettle in South Korea.

China, the North's sole major ally, considers them illegal economic migrants instead of political refugees and repatriates them.

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