|Prei Dy |||May 02, 2017 03:34 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) A North Korean man riding a bicycle near a North Korean flag is seen through the newly installed fence by the Chinese side in this picture taken in the Chinese border city of Dandong, Liaoning Province.
A Chinese city has been ordered to "urgently" hire Korean translators, stirring speculation of a potential military clash that could result in an influx of refugees.
The town of Dandong was asked to recruit several Korean-Chinese interpreters to work at 10 departments in the town, including border security, public security, trade, customs, and quarantine, The Korea Times reported citing Hong Kong-based newspaper Oriental Daily, which posted a photo of the alleged mandate from the Chinese government.
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The document did not state the reason for the sudden, large-scale recruitment. But experts suggest that China could be bracing for a possible military conflict between the United States and North Korea. Dandong, with its population count at two million, plays a crucial role in North Korea's economy because a significant amount of the nation's international trade passes through the city.
In recent weeks, tensions have been rising in the Korean peninsula. The US had earlier warned North Korea to stop conducting further nuclear tests or ICBM test launch or else the US will strike.
However, a US official has revealed that a ballistic missile, believed to be a mid-range KN-17, was fired from an area in the South Pyeongan province early Saturday (local time), the Daily Mail reported. The missile reportedly blew up over land before reaching its target of the Sea of Japan. It landed around 22 miles from Pukchang airfield.
On Sunday, US' National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster said that the country should be ready for military operations in North Korea, adding that the US is prepared to team up with other countries to thwart any plans Kim Jong-un has for nuclear weapons.
"We have to do something with our partners in the region and globally and that involves enforcement of the UN sanctions that are in place. It may mean ratcheting up those sanctions even further and it also means being prepared for military operations if necessary," McMaster said.
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