Taiwan on Tuesday said it would cease the employment of all North Korean workers by the end of the month, following a U.S. sanctions enforcement advisory published a day earlier which listed the country as using North Korean laborers.
Washington’s advisory included a sectoral breakdown of North Korean workers in various countries and listed Taiwan’s seafood industry as an employer of DPRK overseas workers.
UN resolutions currently prohibit member states from providing new work visas to North Koreans and also requires them to repatriate all DPRK nationals working abroad within 24 months of December last year.
The Taiwanese government made the announcement via its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding that it had continually been winding down the number of DPRK workers in the country since 2016.
“On Aug. 12, 2016, the agency issued a notice to concerned firms asking them to stop hiring or renewing existing employment contracts with North Korean crew members,” the ministry said in a statement translated by the Taipei Times.
“It also encouraged them to terminate the contracts in advance.”
Self-ruled Taiwan is not technically a UN member state, and so has not filed any implementation reports to the UN’s 1718 Committee detailing its sanctions enforcement efforts, but the country’s government has previously urged its companies to abide by the Security Council’s edicts.
The foreign ministry’s statement suggests that Taiwanese companies were previously using North Korean crews on their fishing vessels, though the numbers have been falling in recent years.
The ministry added that as of Monday, the number of DPRK crew members on Taiwanese boats had dropped from 278 to three, and the remainder would be sent home after their vessel returns to port at the end of the month.
“Our cooperation has been publicly recognized many times by the U.S. and other members of the international community,” the statement reads.
North Korea sends its citizens abroad to work in various industries and is believed to keep the majority of the wages they earn.
Monday’s U.S. advisory warned that countries could be inadvertently be hiring DPRK workers, adding that they are frequently employed in the “apparel, construction, footwear manufacturing, hospitality, IT services, logging, medical, pharmaceuticals, restaurant, seafood processing, textiles, and shipbuilding” industries.
“The U.S. government is focusing its disruption efforts on North Korean citizens or nationals whose labor generates revenue for the North Korean government,” it reads.
But the DPRK’s weapon smugglers have also previously been involved in providing crews for cargo vessels, according to the UN Panel of Experts (PoE) tasked with monitoring sanctions enforcement on North Korea.
One of the country’s more notorious companies – Ocean Maritime Management (OMM) – also had the Korean International Crew Training Centre under its auspices, and provided crews to vessels and companies linked with sanctions evasion.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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Featured Image: Taipei by jorge.cancela on 2017-08-19 12:01:49