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Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Report: China cancels soldiers' leave on NK border

DANDONG, China (AP) -- China has canceled leave for its soldiers along the North Korean border and some units are conducting anti-chemical weapons drills after the North's nuclear test, a Hong Kong newspaper with close ties to Beijing reported Tuesday.

There was no traffic across a key bridge on a border river on Tuesday, a national holiday in North Korea. But it wasn't clear whether the stoppage was due to tensions over Monday's nuclear test.

There was no sign of heightened security, and reporters in this border city saw two boatloads of North Korean tourists on the river, smiling and waving to people on the Chinese shore.

Leaves were canceled for Chinese troops in Jilin province, which accounts for about 80 percent of China's border with the North, the Wen Wei Po reported. Some units were "conducting anti-chemical drills," it said, without elaborating.

The newspaper didn't say what the goal of the military moves was intended to be or give other details.

The report also said China would suspend exports to North Korea but there was no official confirmation of that.

In Dandong, the site of the main border crossing, no trucks crossed the main bridge across the Yalu River during a two-hour period on Tuesday morning.

On Monday, the day of the nuclear test, the flow of trucks across the bridge was normal, with as many as 12 vehicles on the bridge at one time.

"I am worried that they might use a nuclear weapon in case of war," said Chong Shuxiang, a shopkeeper in Dandong who sells North Korean-made tourist souvenirs.

"If that were the case, we people living in border areas would be the worst victims," he said. "I am really worried, but I don't think the war is imminent."

Written by CNN.

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