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N.K., Russia ink deal on mutual dispatch of laborers

2017/03/17 22:45

SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea and Russia on Friday signed a protocol over the temporary dispatch of each other's laborers, Pyongyang's state media said, amid criticism about the North's practice of exporting labors to earn foreign currency.

North Korea and Russia held a round of working-level talks in Pyongyang to discuss issues over the implementation of a treaty which calls for sending each other's workers provisionally, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The deal was signed between Ri Kwang-gun, a vice economic minister, and Dmitri Demidenko, deputy general director at the emigration affairs general bureau of Russia's interior ministry.

The KCNA did not unveil details about the talks or the deal.

North Korea and Russia clinched the treaty on labor dispatching in August 2007 and have held working-level talks intermittently to implement it.

The move came amid growing condemnation about North Korea's labor exports, as Pyongyang seeks to earn foreign currency.

North Koreans forced to toil overseas are under the spotlight, as Pyongyang is accused of pressing them to work under poor conditions to earn hard currency for its nuclear and missile programs.

More than 50,000 North Koreans are believed to be forced to work overseas, mainly in Russia and China, sending substantial amounts of their salaries to the North's regime. Pyongyang reportedly earns more than US$200 million per year through labor exports.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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