UNITED NATIONS: Britain complained on Friday (Mar 29) after China failed to provide figures on the number of North Korean labourers it had sent home, in line with a UN sanctions resolution.
A resolution adopted in December 2017 barred countries from hiring North Korean workers and gave governments two years to repatriate all North Korean nationals already working on their territories.
The guest workers are considered an important source of hard currency for Pyongyang.
China this month told a UN sanctions committee that it had repatriated more than half of the total North Korean nationals earning income within its borders, but it did not give figures, diplomats said.
Russia said the number of work permits for North Korean workers had dropped from 30,023 to 11,490 between December 2017 and December 2018.
“These are overseas workers that bring in some 800 million dollars a year to the North Korean economy so naturally they are a challenge to the sanctions regime,” British Ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters.
“We want the maximum amount of information so that we can take this forward and get a proper rhythm of reporting and implementation by the end of the year,” she added.
Britain will raise the issue with council members in the coming days, she added.
Under the UN resolution, all countries were obliged to report to the sanctions committee on the number of North Korean labourers they were hosting, but fewer than 20 countries have provided that information.
The ban on North Korean guest workers was part of a package of sweeping sanctions adopted by the council in response to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test and ballistic missile tests.
Marzuki Darusman, a UN expert on North Korea, estimated in 2015 that more than 50,000 North Koreans had been sent to work abroad, mainly to Russia and China, working in slave-like conditions.