NewsChina demands North Korean workers' return in economic crackdown

China demands North Korean workers' return in economic crackdown

China has demanded that North Korean authorities bring back to the country all its citizens working in China.
China has demanded that North Korean authorities bring back to the country all its citizens working in China.
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Katarzyna Kalus

10 July 2024 13:22

China has demanded that North Korean authorities take back all of their citizens working in China, reported the South Korean agency Yonhap, citing anonymous sources. This decision is expected to reduce the income of Kim Jong Un's regime.

While the North Korean authorities intended to withdraw their citizens gradually, Beijing demanded that Pyongyang repatriate all workers whose visas are expiring, claims an anonymous source from Yonhap.

The agency notes that China is considered the main "cash cow" for the North Korean regime, which is struggling to obtain foreign currency due to international sanctions.

In 2017, the UN Security Council obligated all member states to repatriate North Korean workers by the end of 2019 to cut off the regime from hard currency income. However, it is estimated that tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, of such individuals remain in China and Russia.

North Korea's dispatch of its workers abroad and its smuggling of coal and oil via ship-to-ship transfer are illegal activities that violate the UNSC resolutions, said an anonymous South Korean foreign ministry official.

He added that as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, our country calls on all UN member states to fully implement Security Council resolutions.

Tightened customs checks on exports

According to a Yonhap source, China, "North Korea's main ally and economic benefactor," has also tightened customs checks on exports to the country and intensified anti-smuggling efforts.

Yonhap, citing analysts, adds that China may be trying to increase its influence on North Korea when the country is strengthening military cooperation with Russia.

Asked to comment on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said he had "not heard about this," adding that "China and the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) have always maintained their traditional friendship and cooperation, and their party and state leaders frequently contact."

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