China says it has filed a formal complaint with North Korea about the killing of three Chinese citizens last week by a North Korean border guard.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang says a fourth person was wounded when the guard opened fire from his post across the border from China's northeastern town of Dandong last Friday.
Qin says the four Chinese citizens were shot by the North Korean guard on suspicion of crossing the border for illegal trade activities.
Beijing is a major ally and benefactor of the government in Pyongyang, which has been struggling due to a set of U.N. sanctions imposed after North Korea conducted a nuclear test last year.
A South Korean female tourist was shot and killed by a North Korean soldier at a North Korean-based resort in 2008. The woman had walked onto a restricted beach area guarded by the North Korean military near the resort.
Tensions have been growing between North and South Korea in recent years, and have worsened since Seoul accused the North of sinking one of its warships in March, killing 46 sailors.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.