According to the BBC, China says a North Korean border guard shot and killed three people near the countries’ border on June 4. A fourth person was reportedly injured in the incident near the north-eastern border town of Dandong. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular news conference in Beijing that the four residents of Dandong, in Liaoning province, had been shot “on suspicion of crossing the border for trade activities.” He said the case was being investigated, but gave no further details. Pyongyang has not commented on the accusations. Illegal traders regularly cross the border between North Korea and China, taking black market goods into the impoverished country. China is North Korea’s main trading partner and the country perceived to have the most influence on the state. China is crucial to North Korea’s fight for economic survival, providing Pyongyang with food, fuel and much-needed investment.

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