Chinese authorities crack down on North Korean smuggling with checkpoints

Ashley Carr
October 7, 2017

The measures taken by the city government will "have a big impact because we had been able to hire North Korean workers on the cheap", said a senior official of a factory in Dandong that now employs North Korean workers. As much as 70 percent of their pay is taken by the North Korean government, the article said.

Analysts say the security of North Korea's missiles and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons would be a chief priority for China in the event of a major crisis involving its communist neighbor. The trade is illegal under a new law signed by President Donald Trump in August, which prohibits American companies from importing goods made by North Koreans anywhere in the world.

The news comes from an AP investigation, which also tracked products that go to Canada, Germany, and countries within the European Union. Some of that frozen fish in your cart may have been processed by North Koreans working in Chinese factories.

China is mum on any contingency plans, but questions are being raised with USA and North Korean tensions high and relations between Beijing and Pyongyang at a historic low.

The North Korean workers aren't permitted to mix with the Chinese workers in the same factory, and their speech and movements are tightly controlled and monitored.

Companies are asked to voluntarily send back North Korean workers hired on or after that date, and their failure to do so will be subject to additional penalty charges, the sources said.

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Every Western company involved that responded to AP's requests for comment said forced labor and potential support for North Korea's weapons program were unacceptable in their supply chains. "We can hypothesise that they might, but, as the observation goes, those who know don't say and those who say probably don't know", he said.

John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, urged its 300 members, including the largest seafood importers in the US, to "ensure that wages go to the workers and are not siphoned off to support a risky dictator". "The majority work in Russian Federation and China, but Middle Eastern, African, and other European and Asian countries also host North Korean laborers", the report explained. "It's supporting a repressive regime".

"Most of the returning workers are young women, about 20 years old".

Seafood can remain in the supply chain for more than a year.

"Combatting forced labor is a complex problem that no one company, industry, or government can tackle alone", she said.

The report states that seafood from the Hunchun plants was sold to Walmart and also under the Sea Queen brand, which is sold exclusively at Aldi supermarkets.

Other reports by My Hot News

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