China said on Tuesday that a North Korean border guard shot and killed three people and wounded a fourth on the countries' border last week, prompting a formal complaint from Beijing.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said a North Korean border guard, last Friday, shot four Chinese residents from the northeastern border town of Dandong, apparently on suspicion that they were crossing the border for illegal trade.
"On the morning of June 4, some residents of Dandong, in Liaoning province, were shot by a DPRK border guard on suspicion of crossing the border for trade activities, leaving three dead and one injured," he said at a regularly scheduled news conference. He used the acronym for North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Qin said China has formally complained to North Korea over the incident.
"China attaches great importance to that and has immediately raised a solemn representation with the DPRK. Now the case is under investigation," he said.
Qin did not give any further information. There have been some reports in South Korean media on the incident, though North Korea has not acknowledged the shootings.
Dandong is a major shipping point and rail link for goods going into and out of North Korea from China.