China is reportedly expanding its military facilities along the border it shares with North Korea amid ongoing tensions in the Korean peninsula following Pyongyang's missile launches and nuclear tests.
Chinese military authorities began evacuating local residents at Kaishantunzhen in Longjing city in the north of the border with North Korea to another area, according to a source who told the US international broadcaster Radio Free Asia. It is to reportedly accommodate heavy equipment for construction at the site.
The work to move people reportedly began in August in order to prepare for the construction of a large-scale military base in the region.
Although China has built and expanded its military facilities in other parts of the regions in Asia and the Asia Pacific, raising regional tensions and widespread concerns from the international community, the current base expansion near North Korea is thought to be an unprecedented measure by Beijing.
North Korea has reportedly responded to the Chinese activities by deploying around 20 soldiers and has also built an observation post at the top of a mountain across the border to monitor the activities of the Chinese military personnel.
"The Chinese leadership seems to preparing for the collapse of the North Korean regime," a Korean-Chinese source from Longjing was quoted as saying by UPI news agency.
Another source reportedly said a barbed wire fence along the border in Yanbian prefecture was also erected.
Although Beijing has condemned Pyongyang's nuclear tests and missile launch programmes, it has remained its staunch regional ally. China has thwarted moves by the US, the UN Security Council and South Korea among several others, to slap UN sanctions on it.
Earlier in September, China reopened its border after shutting it down briefly after the North's fifth and the biggest nuclear test on 9 September that evoked strong criticism from the international community.