North Korea

N Korean nuclear test raises fallout fears on China’s border, emergency monitoring activated

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 September, 2016, 12:18pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 September, 2016, 11:32pm

Pyongyang’s nuclear test on Friday morning rattled Chinese residents living along the country’s border with North Korea, with many fearing radioactive fallout.

Environmental authorities sought to reassure residents with readings showing radiation in Jilin and Liaoning provinces was within normal range.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection launched emergency radiation monitoring along its northeastern border areas after North Korean state media confirmed it carried out a fifth nuclear test.

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The ministry said readings taken at noon at a total of seven stations in the two provinces by the country’s national radiation monitoring agency detected no abnormal levels of radiation.

One university student, who refused to give her full name, said she was at home in Yanji in the Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture, Jilin province, near the North Korean border when she noticed her indoor plants shaking.

“Yanji is not in a seismic zone so an earthquake is almost impossible here,” she said.

“It must have been caused by another nuclear test in North Korea. I experienced one when I was in secondary school.”

Yanji is not in a seismic zone so an earthquake is almost impossible here
Yanji resident

She said she had confidence in the central government to handle the situation but was still ­concerned about radiation.

Changchun saleswoman Wang Meihui said the test had prompted her to reconsider plans to visit the border city of Yanbian over the National Day break next month. “It is very scary. North Korea is close to my hometown. I am worried about the safety of my family,” Wang said.

“I don’t think war is an issue at the moment. Nuclear radiation is my main concern.”

Stella Ding, 23, from Tonghua, Jilin province, who is studying in Hong Kong, said she was worried about her parents’ safety.

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“There is only a river between North Korea and the town I live in. People can swim to the other side. North Korea is a mad neighbour. What if the two sides suddenly start fighting one day?” she asked.

North Korea is a mad neighbour. What if the two sides suddenly start fighting one day?
Stella Ding, student

A woman working at a restaurant in the Changbai Korean autonomous county said she was also concerned about fallout from the nuclear test.

“I’m worried about the radiation. It is definitely bad for our health,” she said.

Some residents living near the border said on social media that they had felt a strong tremor similar to the one when North Korea conducted another nuclear test in January.

A Weibo user named “Scriptwriter Little Six” living in Yanbian prefecture, said he was awakened at about 8.30am yesterday by a quake which sent furniture crashing and shattered windows in his home.

He said he was so scared he immediately jumped out of bed and ran outside.

The nuclear test was the fifth and biggest by North Korea and came on the 68th anniversary of the state’s founding.