The new equipment cost North Korea several million dollars, according to Daily NK. The move has caused many to speculate that trade will resume between China and North Korea following the coronavirus crisis, which has destroyed economies worldwide.
New surveillance cameras were last installed on the Sino-North Korean border last year, with local reports speculating the purchase is aimed at ramping up surveillance to stop smuggling activities and defections across the border.
This comes amid mounting border tensions with South Korea following the North’s decision to blow up a liaison office.
Tensions have also been building with the US, which has vowed to fight alongside South Korea should the two come to blows.
“The equipment was purchased from China in mid-May and cost approximately RMB 20 million [around USD 2,825,497],” a source based in China told Daily NK on Wednesday.
North Korea has spent millions on new surveillance cameras from China according to local news report
Many have speculated that trade will resume between China and North Korea following the coronavirus crisis
“The camera system will be set up in areas where smuggling activities are common – not across the entire border,” he continued.
“The installation of the system will begin in late June.”
Given that the cameras will only cover a limited area on the border, the high price tag suggests advanced technology is being used, with little known about the systems at present.
The installation of the new system is speculated to be part of preparations to resume trade between China and North Korea, namely by further cracking down on smuggling activities by individuals.
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North Korean officials believe that smuggling activities conducted by individuals are a key way information and illicit goods enter and exit the country
“The purchase of the new system shows that North Korea wants to stamp out these smuggling activities to ensure only [official] Sino-North Korean trade is allowed across the border,” the source speculated.
The source noted that North Korean officials believe that smuggling activities conducted by individuals are a key way information and illicit goods enter and exit the country.
“They believe that eradicating smuggling activities can prevent South Korean-made products, foreign-made videos and music from entering the country,” he added.
Meanwhile, South Korea has also been strengthening its relationship with China according to reports.
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The new equipment from China cost North Korea several million dollars
New surveillance cameras were last installed on the Sino-North Korean border last year
South Korea is reportedly plotting to bolster ties with neighbouring countries, such as China, to overcome the pandemic-caused challenges they are facing.
In particular, Seoul is wanting to develop their relationship with nations that lay within their field of marine shipping.
They plan on going about this by utilising smart technologies and promote non-contact cooperation.
A virtual ministerial meeting, from South Korea, is due to take place on Monday, where they will discuss plans to request both China and Japan to bolster their shipping ties.
Information of this meeting has been brought to attention by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries in South Korea.
“South Korea, China, and Japan have been enjoying economic growth through specialisation and cooperation, connected by marine logistics,” Oceans Minister Moon Seong-hyeok said in a statement.
“The three countries will continue to make efforts to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, and maintain the steady flow of logistics down the road,” he added.
In order to minimise face-to-face contact, South Korea is also aiming to work on establishing deeper ties with China and Japan so they can utilise smart technologies that can inspect ships.
Tensions have been building between North Korea and the US, which has vowed to fight alongside South Korea should the two come to blows
They aim to do this whilst also promoting the development of self-driving vessels.
South Korea said earlier this month that it will spend 160 billion won (US$133 million) to launch a vessel capable of sailing with a minimal number of sailors by 2025.
The ministry plans to request China and Japan to provide discounts on port fees to support troubled passenger ferry operators in Northeast Asia as well.
This comes amid news that South Korea and China have both just experienced new clusters of COVID-19 cases, sparking fears of a second wave of the disease.