6 armed N. Korean soldiers illegally cross into China: source
SEOUL/SHENYANG, China, March 2 (Yonhap) -- A total of six North Korean soldiers armed with weapons crossed into China, prompting Chinese authorities to track their whereabouts, a source said Thursday.
The North Korean soldiers deserted their posts along the border area with China and illegally entered Changbai County in the country's northeastern province of Jilin on Tuesday, according to the source.
"Chinese authorities notified residents to be on alert and immediately report their location if they are observed," the source added.
In July 2016, five runaway North Korean soldiers broke into residents' houses in the county and committed robbery. Chinese police arrested two although two policemen suffered gunshot wounds in the process.
In December 2014, a North Korean army deserter killed four Chinese citizens in a robbery attempt in the Chinese border city of Helong, while an year earlier, a North Korean defector in his 20s killed an elderly Chinese couple in the Chinese border city of Yanji and stole 20,000 yuan (US$2,900). The North Korean defector was caught by Chinese authorities after fleeing to Beijing.
"Since the 2000s, worsening food shortages seems to be pushing North Korean soldiers into deserting their posts," another source said. "North Korea seems to be suffering from more food shortages since massive flooding hit the country's northeastern region in late August."