[Video] Hundreds of North Korean female workers reappear in China

Ha Yoon Ah  |  2018-04-05 16:15

Daily NK has obtained video (above) showing a large group of North Korean women moving through the streets of the Chinese border city of Helong earlier this month, leading some in the area to believe it may be connected to Kim Jong Uns visit to Beijing in late March.

"About 400 North Korean women were dispatched to Helong, Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture on April 1," a source close to North Korean affairs in China told Daily NK on April 4. 

In the video provided by the source, hundreds of the women can be seen walking in a procession in the Chinese city, with most carrying bags or backpacks. However, the starting point and destination of the group is unclear from the video.

"It has been a long time since this many people have come in [from North Korea], but it's probably related to the Kim Jong Un's recent visit to China," the source said. 

"Before Kim Jong Un went to China, we saw a lot of workers returning to North Korea, but we are no longer seeing movement (in that direction)," he added. 

A separate source in Jilin Province, China told Daily NK there are signs that North Korean-Chinese joint ventures in the area have begun preparing to restart operations. 

"These businesses, where the North Korean side provides the labor and the Chinese side invests in the facilities, came to a halt under international sanctions. But now, business delegations for the two sides have scheduled talks," the source said. 

China has helped pass major sanctions resolutions in the last few years as a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), demonstrating its enforcement compliance by shutting down many of these joint ventures and evicting scores of North Korean workers from the country last year. 

However, the reappearance of hundreds of North Korean workers in China this week has led observers to question whether Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping discussed the matter during their recent meeting in Beijing. And while the situation is still developing, it may be cause for concern over China's intentions to enforce sanctions going forward. 

China joined the UNSC in passing Resolution 2371 in August last year in response to a North Korean ICBM test, banning the North from sending anymore laborers abroad. Then, after North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, the UNSC passed Resolution 2375 in September preventing any contract renewals for laborers already working abroad.  

Following the North's test of its "Hwasong-15" ICBM in December, the UNSC passed Resolution 2397 requiring that all North Korean laborers abroad return to their home country within 24 months. Under these measures, China has until 2019 to send all North Korean workers back to North Korea. 

*Translated by Colin Zwirko

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