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Kim Jong Un Pulls His Army Of Slaves Out Of China

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un ordered overseas workers in China to return home, according to South Korean media.

There are around 30,000 North Koreans working in China, generating money for the cash-strapped regime desperately trying to achieve its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons goals. Pyongyang, however, has ordered them home, according to the Chosun Ilbo.

China’s Ministry of Commerce ordered the closure of all North Korean businesses in China within the next several of months, part of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to comply with United Nations sanctions resolutions. China has also made it almost impossible for North Koreans in the country to renew their residence permits, forcing many to return home. (RELATED: China Is Kicking Out All North Korean Businesses)

While a few thousand North Koreans work at restaurants in China, many serve as cheap labor in Chinese factories, producing a variety of different products, everything from seafood to clothing. In most cases, these workers are treated as slave labor, as they often live and work in undesirable conditions, and the majority of their earnings are turned over to Pyongyang. (RELATED: Slavery Is Alive And Well In North Korea, Here’s How The Regime Does It)

China, which has traditionally been complicit as North Korea skirted sanctions, has been putting increased pressure on the North Korean regime. Chinese banks have cut ties with North Korean traders, China’s central bank has instructed financial institutions to stop doing business with the North, and China has cut trade with its nuclear neighbor. (RELATED: China’s Trade With North Korea Tanks As US Raises The Pressure)

Beijing’s efforts to rein in its nuclear neighbor may be in response to the demands of the Trump administration, as well as a documented breakdown in bilateral ties between China and North Korea.

International sanctions are believed to be strangling the North Korean economy, but it is unclear if these efforts will curb the regime’s nuclear ambitions. The North has launched around two dozen ballistic missiles this year, and just last month, it tested a suspected staged thermonuclear weapon with an explosive yield significantly larger than anything the regime has previously tested.

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