April 02, 2019 10:20
North Korea is sending tens of thousands of workers to China on temporary visitor visas to make quick cash for the regime now international sanctions ban countries around the world from employing North Korean workers.
The move seems to be a desperate attempt to raise hard currency for the increasingly cash-strapped dictatorship after February's summit with the U.S. collapsed.
One source said the North "is engaging in guerrilla-style cash raids by sending workers to China on two-month visitor visas." China needs cheap labor and the North is more than willing to supply it, with an estimated 70,000 workers heading across the border in search of jobs.
"North Koreans have been sent primarily to China's three northeastern provinces, where they usually work in clothing and food factories as well as construction sites, saunas and restaurants, and as maids and cleaners."
They are paid around US$200 a month, much of which is taken by the regime.
UN member states are banned from issuing new work visas to North Koreans under Security Council resolutions and must also deport current North Korean laborers by the end of this year. But China needs cheap labor to help struggling industries stay afloat and seems willing to bend the UN rules by hiring North Koreans on visitor visas instead of work permits.
Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia reported that North Korean authorities have banned all unauthorized gatherings because it fears public unrest. RFA said even small gatherings are subject to crackdowns and violators are charged hefty fines and face intense grilling by the authorities.
It added that an atmosphere of fear has gripped the entire country.
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