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N. Korea facing border control problems after floods destroy fences, guard posts: report

All Headlines 12:56 September 09, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is experiencing difficulties in controlling its borders after heavy rains in its northeastern region destroyed barbed-wire fences and guard posts along the country's border with China, U.S.-based media Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Friday.

A Chinese resident living in Longjing city in Jilin Province told RFA that the heavy rains accompanied by a recent typhoon caused the water level of the Tumen River flowing between the two countries to rise rapidly. The source said this caused considerable devastation in places like Hoeryong city, North Hamgyong Province.

North Korea's northeastern region and coasts were affected the most by the recent Typhoon Lionrock, reports indicated.

The Chinese informant said the guard posts and wire fences have been swept away by floods and landslides.

The reclusive country's northeastern area is a main route for North Koreans to flee to China after crossing the Tumen River.

Due to the severe damage, North Korea's border control is expected to see setbacks for the time being, according to a North Korean defector who has recently settled in South Korea.

Kim Dong-nam, a North Korean defector, told RFA that it will be easier now for North Koreans to cross the river to defect if they realize border barriers have been destroyed.

He said he heard that the Pyongyang regime is tightening travel control for citizens going to the border area from inside the country.

North Korea's state media said Tuesday that heavy rains have left more than 60 people dead and 25 missing in the country's northern Hamgyong Province. The North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the flooding in North Hamgyong Province alone submerged 7,980 hectares of rice paddies and destroyed or inundated hundreds of buildings.
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