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[Representational Image] The three journalists included Delhi and Mumbai bureau chiefs of Xinhua news agency and the third journalist was a reporter for the Mumbai office.Reuters

China has engaged civilians in patrols at the border it shares with North Korea, following incidents of attacks on Chinese by North Korean defectors in the recent past.

China has reportedly readied a civilian-military defence system in the Jilting province in Danubian, which shares a 500-km border with North Korea.

Civilians from neighbouring households in the border villages have formed their own border security groups and will report to the village head, China Daily reported.

The move comes after a North Korean army deserter crossed over to China and killed four Chinese civilians in a robbery attempt last month.

The crime occurred exactly one year after a North Korean defector killed an elderly Chinese couple in December 2013 after robbing them.

North Korea reportedly realigned its border troops following last month's incident, according to South Korean media.

"China and North Korea are both keeping guard on the border ...," the Chinese state media said, according to Reuters. "The situation is more complicated and relying on just one party would make it difficult to achieve effective control". 

The state media also reported that the government has put in place a 24-hour video surveillance as well as a telephone hotline, "to encourage residents to report any illegal border activities they might notice, and emergency response teams have been founded within the civilian patrols and trained by military border guards".

China and North Korea are diplomatic allies, but border tensions have often strained ties.

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