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Longtime U.S. ally Kuwait has no plans to stop granting visas to North Korean laborers whose earnings eventually wind up in the hands of Kim Jong-un, keeping in place a critical source of revenue for a regime that was recently hit with punishing U.N. sanctions.
Kuwait currently hosts about 6,000 North Korean laborers, the country’s Public Authority of Manpower said in a statement to the Associated Press on Thursday. Officials with knowledge of the situation had previously told the AP that about 2,500 North Koreans were working in Kuwait.
Figure - Public - Authority - Manpower - North
Acknowledging the higher figure, the Public Authority of Manpower said it would continue to allow the North Koreans to work at the country’s construction sites.
“There are no plans to expel North Korean laborers and Kuwait has never done so,” the statement said.
Kuwait - Dozen - Countries - Laborers - Construction
Kuwait is one of at least a dozen countries that employ North Korean laborers in construction, textile and energy industries. The U.N. estimates that about 50,000 North Koreans are working abroad, often in conditions that human rights observers compare to slave labor.
While the majority of overseas North Koreans work in Russia and China, expatriate workers in Kuwait and other Persian Gulf countries are a particularly lucrative source of income for the Kim regime. Most North Korean workers in the Gulf earn around $1,000 a month, and the government confiscates about half that amount when remittances are sent back home, reports the AP.
Marzuki - Darusman - UN - Rapporteur - Rights
Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, said Wednesday that $2 billion in worldwide remittances end up in Kim’s coffers each year. Those earnings have eased the pain of previous economic sanctions and provided needed hard currency to the isolated...
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