North Korea is boosting security along the border with China and holding public meetings denouncing Jang Sung Taek amidst large-scale purges of Jang’s former associates, Daily NK sources report.
A source from Yangkang Province told Daily NK on the 11th, “Since the evening of the 8th, just prior to the Jang incident being broadcast on KCNA, the atmosphere near the border areas has been like nothing anyone has seen before. Soldiers at the border posts have been on emergency duty, and the number of personnel has been doubled.”
“Soldiers are frequently patrolling the riverbank, and they are standing guard for much longer than they used to. The time allocated for residents to draw water from the Yalu has been fixed from 12pm until 4pm, but the soldiers hover around, which makes people uncomfortable,” the source continued.
Adding to the tense atmosphere, “Soldiers used to smoke cigarettes and chat with people they knew but they don’t do that now. Instead they rigidly stand guard with stern expressions on their faces.”
The source believes these new measures have been enacted out of fear that “some of Jang’s associates may attempt to defect to the South.”
“Public meetings are being held to criticize Jang, but the people respond that ‘[the authorities] are concerning themselves with high politics, while the masses are made to struggle.'”
A second source from North Hamkyung Province told Daily NK, “The electricity supply is tenuous at best, but at the time of the Chosun Central Television broadcast (of Jang’s arrest) the power came on.”
“Every day in downtown Chongjin, a car belonging to the provincial arm of the Party’s propaganda department blasts criticism of Jang Sung Taek and encourages support of the regime. However, the people’s focus is on whether or not the authorities will beef up restrictions against market activity,” the source went on.
“Traders are also finding it difficult to get close to border areas. It’s said that the atmosphere on the ground is even more brutal than a Security Command investigation,” a third source located in Hoeryong confirmed.