Keeping a close eye on the border with China. (Reuters/Aly Song)
Steve Mollman, Quartz: It’s time to start considering what a North Korean refugee crisis would look like
There’s an undeveloped strip of land on the Korean peninsula where nature thrives, but wild animals occasionally explode. Walking across it would be a bad idea.
Known as the demilitarized zone (DMZ), it divides South Korea and North Korea, nations that technically have been at war since the 1950s. Running 240 km (150 miles) across the Korean peninsula, and measuring about 4 km (2.5 miles) wide, it is heavily guarded by two of the world’s largest militaries, strewn with landmines, and arguably the most fortified border on the planet.
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WNU Editor: If the North Korean government collapses .... I will be surprised if there is a massive refugee rush to China. There will be some .... but the millions that some are envisaging will not happen. What I expect is that most people will stay put .... and hope for the best .... and they will only flee if the situation becomes very desperate over a period of time. What will cause a massive refugee crisis is war .... and the flow will be from both North and South Korea. North Koreans will flee to China by foot and limited transport .... and that number will be in the millions. For those trapped in South Korea .... many will go where they will be accepted .... but logistical limitations (boats/air-planes/etc.) will probably be limited for South Koreans .... especially if the entire country becomes classified as a war zone. And in the event of a North Korean victory .... the South Korean refugee crisis will make the fall of South Vietnam and the refugee crisis from that disaster look like a cakewalk.