North Korea has reportedly deployed special military forces along its border with China with a shoot-to-kill order against those crossing over the boundary as part of efforts to contain an influx of COVID-19.
According to AFP, United States Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams shared the intelligence during a videoconference organized by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Abrams said the North introduced a new buffer zone “one or two kilometers up on the Chinese border” where its special operations forces were dispatched with shoot-to-kill orders.
He said demand for smuggled goods in the North grew as a result of pandemic-induced border lockdowns, prompting the North Korean government to intervene, adding the regime is focusing on lowering the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak.
The North shut down its border areas with China in January following the virus’ outbreak in Wuhan and raised its quarantine system to the highest level in July.