North Korean workers leave China because of UN sanctions

Clamp down on renewal and issuance of visas. Companies closed within 120 days. There are 100,000 North Koreans working abroad.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More and more North Korean workers are being forced to leave China following the sanctions imposed by the UN on 12 September. Beijing has announced the closure of all North Korean companies and joint ventures within 120 days, and a clamp down on the issuance and renewal of visas.

As of September 12, China imposed a blockade on visa extensions and enforced restrictions on issuing new ones. The closure resulted in the departure of about 2,600 North Koreans from the northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang alone, where workers are employed in the fishing industry. A photo showing hundreds of North Korean women waiting for repatriation is circulating on WeChat, a widespread messaging application in China.

It is estimated that at least 100,000 North Korean workers reside outside the country of origin to earn strong currency, for an annual total of remittance estimated at around US $ 500 million. The Beijing position, the historical ally of Pyongyang, represents a decisive step in the pressures against Kim Jong-un's regime, whose missile tests have been defined by the UN as a "global threat".