Wow. This New York Times article points out an event that could have potentially huge ramifications, inasmuch as North Korea's existence seems to be contingent on China.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that a North Korean border guard shot dead three Chinese nationals and wounded one last week in an incident in northeast China, prompting the Chinese government to file a formal complaint.
The shootings took place last Friday at the China-North Korea border by the Chinese city of Dandong, in Liaoning Province, said Qin Gang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, at a regularly scheduled news conference in Beijing. The four shot Chinese were residents of Dandong and were believed by the guard to be engaged in illegal trade across the border, Mr. Qin added, according to a report by the Chinese-language edition of Global Times, an official newspaper.
“China attaches great importance to that and has immediately raised a solemn representation with the D.P.R.K.,” Mr. Qin said, using the acronym for the formal name for North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “Now the case is under investigation.”
Mr. Qin gave the information in response to a question at the news conference about unconfirmed South Korean press reports on the shooting, but he did not provide more details. Nonetheless, Mr. Qin’s confirmation of the shooting and his description of China’s reaction was unusual, since China rarely upbraids North Korea in public.
It was unclear how the shooting incident would affect relations between North Korea and China, which is North Korea’s closest ally in the region.