China is reinforcing fences and has stepped up patrols along its border with North Korea as fears mount of a catastrophic famine in the secretive state.
Fences more than 13ft high, topped with barbed wire, are now being erected along an eight-mile stretch of the Yalu river around the Chinese city of Dandong. This is a popular entry point for North Korea refugees seeking food or better lives.
Previously the border was only marked by a 10ft fence which "anybody could cross if they really wanted", a resident added.
Fears for the stability of North Korea have increased in recent weeks with reports of a growing food crisis following the severest winter in 60 years and an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that has affected the oxen that are still used to plough fields.
Foreign aid agencies based in Pyongyang issued a joint statement warning that six million North Koreans need urgent food aid because crops of potatoes, wheat and barley have all failed.