"Shoot on sight" orders at the Korean border with China

Here’s what we know for sure about the current state of health of the tiny tyrant of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. He’s either perfectly fine, suffering from complications of a botched heart operation, in a coma, or dead. At the moment you can think of him as Schrodinger’s Dictator. But regardless of who is actually in charge in the hermit kingdom currently, somebody is issuing some significantly aggressive and adversarial orders this week. The Daily Mail reports that North Korean soldiers have been ordered to “shoot on sight” anyone seen within a half-mile of the country’s border with China. The reason given is to stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus. This is going to leave everyone with plenty of questions to mull over.

North Korea has ordered soldiers and police to ‘shoot on sight’ anyone within half a mile of the country’s border with China in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Pyongyang sources only learned of the draconian new measure less than a day before it took effect at midnight on Thursday.

Police in the city of Hoeryong said they would kill anyone within such a distance of the boundary ‘regardless of their reason for being there’, RFA reports.

The policy is being enforced along the entire 880-mile border until the end of the pandemic to try and prevent transmission of Covid-19 through contact with people from China.

The report goes on to claim that massive amounts of ammunition are being sent to the northern border along with army units who are there to monitor border guards for “corruption” or aiding in smuggling as much as to help secure the border. The troops were allegedly ordered to “leave behind their blank shots and carry only live ammunition.” I’m not trying to be too nosy here, but why were you giving your soldiers blanks to carry on duty to begin with?

This move comes barely two months after Kim sent a large influx of troops to the southern border with South Korea. Isn’t he going to run out of troops at some point? Hasn’t this guy ever played Risk?

Getting back to the obvious questions this announcement raises, the first thing to ask is why North Korea is suddenly so worried about the novel coronavirus. Weren’t we repeatedly told that North Korea had the whole situation under control and they had almost no confirmed cases? Obviously nobody believes that, but for the leadership to be in this much of a state of panic, things are probably far worse than even conservative estimates indicated.

The bigger looming question is what Kim Jong-un (or whoever is in charge) thinks is going to happen to their relationship with Xi Jinping. North Korea relies almost entirely on China for the few goods and supplies they receive while under sweeping international sanctions. The Chinese are willing to look the other way when it comes to many of North Korea’s antics in the interest of keeping a stable buffer between themselves and South Korea (and the American presence there), but if the North Koreans start gunning down Chinese citizens, that situation could destabilize rapidly.

As with everything else to do with these maniacs, nobody benefits from a rapidly destabilizing North Korea. The country is led by an inbred family of clearly deranged individuals and they are sitting on a pile of nukes and some modernized ICMBs that can propel warheads a great distance. If we weren’t in the middle of a spat with the Chinese ourselves I would suggest that Donald Trump have a chat with Xi Jinping and ask him to put a leash on his puppet in North Korea before this situation flies out of control.