North Korean Workers Abroad Under Scrutiny by U.S., Allies at UN
25 Dec 2019

The U.S. and its allies called on United Nations members to reveal whether they’re complying with UN-imposed sanctions requiring the repatriation of North Korean workers, part of an effort to squeeze Pyongyang of much-needed foreign currency inflows.

As part of a series of resolutions passed in 2017, UN member states were required to send back all North Korean laborers by Sunday, yet some countries have failed to provide an interim report on whether they’re meeting those obligations, the U.S. and more than 20 allies including Germany, U.K. and Japan wrote in a letter to the president of the General Assembly. They urged all members to provide final reports by March 22.

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind States that, as of this date, the presence of DPRK workers earning income in their jurisdiction” is a violation of international law, German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, who chairs the North Korea sanctions committee, said in a letter on behalf of the group of mainly Western countries seen by Bloomberg News.

With North Korea under a long list of punishing sanctions over its nuclear weapons program, Pyongyang has long relied on cadres of workers in foreign countries to help deliver some of the hard currency needed by Kim Jong Un’s regime. The country has also found ways to evade sanctions through ship-to-ship transfers of coal and oil at sea as well as by conducting cyber attacks on financial institutions.

The renewed Western push at the UN comes as North Korea hints darkly about a “Christmas gift” for the U.S. amid stalled talks over Pyongyang’s weapons program. At the same time, China and Russia have begun to openly support efforts to ease sanctions on North Korea. The U.S. has rejected any relief.

By David Wainer, Bloomberg, 23 December 2019

Read more at Bloomberg

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