With the North Korean situation tense after Friday's latest failed missile attempt, the South Korea's Korea Times reportsthat a Chinese town near the border with North Korea is "urgently" recruiting Korean-Chinese interpreters, "stirring speculation that China is bracing for an emergency situation involving its nuclear-armed neighbor."
The Korea Times cites The Oriental Daily, a Hong Kong-based news outlet, which reportedly published the story on Apr. 27, including a photo of a Chinese government document ordering the town of Dandong to recruit an unspecified number of Korean-Chinese interpreters to work at 10 departments in the town, including border security, public security, trade, customs and quarantine.
The document did not specify the reason behind the unusual, large-scale recruiting. But experts and local citizens said the move indicated that China was bracing for a possible military clash between the United States and North Korea.
The Korean outlet goes on to speculate that this "might trigger a huge exodus of North Koreans to border towns in China."
Whether this dismal scenario will become a reality is largely up to North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.
U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly warned that the world's superpower will strike North Korea's nuclear facilities if Kim proceeds with a sixth nuclear test or test fires an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The Dandong administration also has ordered its officials to work rotating night shifts since April 25, according to South Korea's news agency Yonhap.
Meanwhile, China has dismissed recent reports that it has sent 150,000 additional troops to its border with the North.
North Korea warned Monday that it will carry out a nuclear test "at any time and at any location" set by its leadership, in the latest rhetoric to fuel jitters in the region.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been running high for weeks, with signs that the North might be preparing a long-range missile launch or a sixth nuclear test -- and with Washington refusing to rule out a military strike in response.
A spokesman for the North's foreign ministry said Pyongyang was "fully ready to respond to any option taken by the US".
The regime will continue bolstering its "preemptive nuclear attack" capabilities unless Washington scrapped its hostile policies, he said in a statement carried by the state-run KCNA news agency.
"The DPRK's measures for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum will be taken in a consecutive and successive way at any moment and any place decided by its supreme leadership," the spokesman added, apparently referring to a sixth nuclear test and using the North's official name, the Democratic Republic of Korea.
The North has carried out five nuclear tests in the last 11 years and is widely believed to be making progress towards its dream of building a missile capable of delivering a warhead to the continental United States.
Happy Independence Day Israel! May our God of Abraham, Issac, & Jacob continue to Bless & protect you always!
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