With a conflict on the Korean Peninsula looking increasingly possible, China is reportedly preparing. The country is said to be laying the groundwork for refugee camps for thousands of prospective migrants along Jilin province's border with North Korea, reports the New York Times, citing a document produced by a state-owned telecom company. The China Mobile document describes recent inspections of five planned refugee camps—in the cities of Tumen and Hunchun and three villages in Changbai County—for the purposes of verifying Internet access there. Though China's government hasn't confirmed the plan, a local businessman tells the Times that temporary housing is already under construction on state-owned land.
The camps were ordered "because the situation on the China-North Korea border has intensified lately," according to the China Mobile document, which was shared last week on microblogging site Weibo before it was deleted, per the Telegraph. In an exchange erased from the official transcript of a press briefing on Monday, a rep for China's Foreign Ministry said he was unaware of any such plan, per the Guardian. But analysts say China would be foolish not to anticipate such future needs, particularly in an area that lies just 60 miles from North Korea's main nuclear test site. The Korean Peninsula is "on the brink of war," a Beijing specialist on North Korea tells the Guardian. "As a major power and a neighboring country, China should make plans for all eventualities."