China May Be Preparing Refugee Sites in Case of a Korean War

By Patrick Tucker

December 11, 2017

The Chinese government may be preparing for an influx of refugees from North Korea — if, say, war breaks out on the Peninsula, according to a document obtained by Radio Free Asia.

The document, dated July 7, was produced by China Mobile, the giant state-owned telecommunications company — specifically, by the branch that serves Changbai County on the North Korean border. It says the company was conducting “pre-communications security work for North Korean refugee camps” in the region — specifically, testing signal strength at five potential “refugee settlements,” Radio Free Asia’s Huang Xiaoshan and Lin Guoli write in their Dec. 7 report.

When Huang and Lin asked officials with China Mobile and the local government about the document, they denied that the work was related to the construction of refugee camps. But the RFA reporters wrote in a subsequent Dec. 7 report that they had confirmed the plan’s existence.

Four days later, a China Mobile spokesman appeared to confirm the reports. Contacted by The Express, a UK-based newspaper, the spokesman said, “The government has ordered these settlement points. But don’t worry, no one is panicking here.”

By Patrick Tucker // Patrick Tucker is technology editor for Defense One. He’s also the author of The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? (Current, 2014). Previously, Tucker was deputy editor for The Futurist for nine years. Tucker has written about emerging technology in Slate, The Sun, MIT Technology Review, Wilson Quarterly, The American Legion Magazine, BBC News Magazine, Utne Reader, and elsewhere.

December 11, 2017