Sky News Asia correspondent Peter Sharp reports from China's northern border where a savage winter is providing an impetus for an exodus of the weak and vulnerable:
Hunger is stalking the bleak, windswept hills of North Korea. And for some of the long-suffering residents of Kim Jong-il's hermit kingdom it has proved the final straw.
They cross the border at night. Winter has frozen the Tumen River that marks China's frontier with North Korea, allowing the refugees travelling in small groups to scuttle across the ice avoiding the border guards and Chinese police.
It is the start of a 2,500-mile journey to freedom. continued