Detroit News Hyung-Jin Kim and Penny Wang, Associated Press
A video obtained by The Associated Press shows plumes of black smoke rising from a North Korean city near the border with China amid reports that deadly explosions occurred there earlier this week.
There has been no official word from North Korea or China about what happened in the North Korean city of Hyesan on Monday. But South Korean media and outside monitoring groups reported that gas explosions in a residential area left dozens of people dead or injured. The AP couldn’t independently confirm the reports.
The video acquired by AP shows orange flames and black smoke shooting into the sky from Hyesan as loud explosion-like sounds are heard. A few people can be seen watching the scene from the Chinese side of the border.
The video was provided by Wang Bo, a travel agent who said he shot it from a park in the Chinese border town of Changbai.
“I just saw explosions and there were a lot of onlookers who were looking in that direction. We don’t know the reason why there were explosions,” Wang said.
Wang, who said he has previously visited Hyesan, said the explosions happened not far from the city’s orphanage and tourism office.
Many Chinese border towns are very close to North Korea, separated only by the river border.
Wang said from Binjiang Park in Changbai where he shot the video, “in summer, we can see North Koreans swim in the river, and in winter, people can walk on the frozen Yalu River.”
The Associated Press verified the location after examining other tourist videos of the park that show the same structures and lights. Other videos of the reported explosions have been circulating on Chinese and South Korean social media.