CHINA-JAPAN: NORTH KOREA

Yomiuri Shimbun on August 6, 2017 reported that Kenji Kanasugi, Director General of Japan's Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, met Wu Dawei, then China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, in Japan on April 26, 2017 and asked him to take action toward restricting China’s acceptance of North Korean workers. He also requested that China restrict crude oil exports to North Korea. Shotaro Yachi, Secretary General of the National Security Secretariat, separately met Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi on May 29 when he made a similar request. Japan has asked China through diplomatic channels several times since April to restrict its acceptance of North Korean workers. It is said that the incomes of workers dispatched by Pyongyang to other countries are a source of funds for North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs. According to sources, both Wu Dawei and Yang Jiechi were reluctant toward Japan’s request. The United States has called on other countries to stop accepting North Korean workers and is closely watching to see how China responds.

( Comment: According to a 2015 UN report, the more than 50,000 workers that North Korea dispatched to at least 17 countries — including China, Russia, Mongolia and Poland — earned it between US$ 1.2 billion to US$ 2.3 billion (about ¥133 billion to about ¥255 billion) that year. China, which relies on low-cost labor from North Korea, has been reluctant to restrict its acceptance of North Korean workers.)

 







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