(ANTIMEDIA) East Asia — China has apparently signaled it doesn’t have much confidence in the current thaw in relations between the United States and North Korea, as it was recently reported that the Chinese government has significantly reinforced its border with the Hermit Kingdom.
Citing a report from U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA), South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo wrote Monday that China is “preparing for a potential war on the Korean Peninsula” by deploying additional troops and mobile strike groups closer to its dividing line with North Korea. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense rejected these media reports on Tuesday.
Chosun Ilbo wrote that RFA, which claims to have spoken with “a North Korean source in China,” reported Friday that “the Chinese military late last year deployed another missile defense battery at an armored division in Helong,” a city near its border with the North.
Additionally, “military units in Yanbian were relocated from Heilongjiang Province, thus adding 300,000 troops along the border,” Chosun Ilbo reported.
RFA’s source also said China has moved several missile defense batteries to reservoirs near rivers that serve as part of the border between the two countries. This is because, as Chosun Ilbo wrote, China’s troops “could be swept away if the North tore down the banks of the reservoirs or they were destroyed by missiles or air strikes.”
The South Korean outlet also noted that on January 24, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported that the Chinese military unit that would be the first to cross the border in the event of war has been armed with China’s most sophisticated surface-to-air missiles.
The news comes days away from the opening of the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The lead-up to the games has seen a de-escalation in tensions on the Korean Peninsula, though many believe the softening of tensions will be temporary.
Meanwhile, newly published photos have revealed the extent of China’s militarization of its artificial islands in the South China Sea. Those waters are a major point of contention between China and the United States, with the U.S. accusing China of trying to aggressively exert its dominance in the region.