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The North Korean regime has resettled some 10,000 households to build a 270 km highway section along the Chinese border, a source said last Friday. 

"The aim is to prevent people from fleeing the North," the source said. Construction of the highway, which runs from Hyesan, Ryanggang Province to Musan, North Hamgyong Province, is nearly complete.

The regime reportedly forced the residents out because the border regions along the Apnok and Duman rivers are notoriously porous, and defections and smuggling are rife.

The source said the move has made it hard for people to flee via the established routes out of Hyesan as well as Musan and Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province, no matter how much money they pay.

The regime promised the resettled people perks like extra food rations, but none have been forthcoming, the source added. (The Chosunilbo)