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As UN sanctions bite, North Korean workers leave Chinese border hub


North Korean workers have begun to leave the Chinese border city of Dandong, after the latest round of sanctions seeking to restrict Pyongyang’s ability to earn foreign currency income, local businesses and traders say. Almost 100,000 overseas workers, based mostly in China and Russia, funnel some 500 million dollar in wages a year to help finance the North Korean regime, the US government says. Dandong, a city of 800,000 along the Yalu River, which defines the border with North Korea. Thousands of workers, most of them women, are also employed by Chinese-owned garment and electronics factories in Dandong, with a significant share of their wages going straight to the North Korean state. In a statement on Thursday, China’s Ministry of Commerce ordered the implementation of the new sanctions across the country within 120 days. The sanctions allow workers to serve out existing contracts. Businesspeople in Dandong, through which most of trade between the two countries flows, said contracts could not be renewed and new visas were not being approved. The sanctions have come as a rude jolt to Dandong businesses and traders who had long rolled with North Korea’s unpredictability but believed their neighbour’s economic reliance on China would keep its belligerence in check.

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