Posted August. 08, 2004 21:58,
Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday that the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) conducted river-crossing exercises using floating bridges over the Aprok River, Chinas boundary with North Korea.
The report quoted an observer from RENK (Rescue the North Korean People), a Japanese NGO that supports North Korean defectors. According to RENK, the CPLA started its training in early July, and it lasted for about two weeks in the Aprok River areas across Shinuiju.
The main training consisted of setting up about 10 floating bridges--5 to 7 meters wide and 20 to 30 meters long--up to the mid-point of the Aprok, which is the boundary line with North Korea.
We witnessed a few hundred of soldiers, but considering the fact that there were about 100 tents that can accommodate up to 10 soldiers each pitched near the river, I guess there were a total of 1,000 soldiers participating in the training, said the RENK member.
The Sankei Shimbun report noted it is very rare for Chinese troops to conduct such exercises in the border region with North Korea, adding that the training might be a measure to fortify border control of North Korean defectors, but could also be to pressure North Korea regarding the nuclear issue.
China transferred North Korea-China border guard duty from the Peoples Armed Police to the Peoples Liberation Army last July 9.