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About 300 N. Korean workers return home from Oman: RFA

2016/12/29 16:13

SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Yonhap) -- Pyongyang has recently brought back around 300 North Korean workers employed in Oman, a U.S.-based radio report said Thursday amid international concerns over the North's inhuman treatment of its workers overseas.

"As many as 300 North Korean workers were predicted to have stayed for construction work in Oman in 2015, but all of the North Korean workers were repatriated to their home country," Radio Free Asia said, quoting a report from South Korea's state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

Currently, there are no North Korean workers left in Oman, according to the report on Oman-North Korea trade relations, published by the agency's Muscat branch. Muscat is the capital of the Arab country.

Oman has been cited as one of a few Middle East countries that employ North Korean workers, along with the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Libya.

In March, two North Korean workers en route from Oman to China were caught by customs authorities at the airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, carrying bulks of dollar bills.

The KOTRA report said the episode may have been part of the process to relocate the North Korean workers.

South Korea's foreign ministry confirmed the repatriation later. "Oman has taken appropriate action, taking into account international concerns over North Korean overseas workers," ministry spokesman Cho Jung-hyuck said at a briefing.

Recent United Nations resolutions expressed concerns over North Korea's inhumane treatment of its overseas workers and the regime's export of workers in connection with its development of nuclear weapons.

pbr@yna.co.kr

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