North Korean workers struggle after China's `ultimatum`. 0North Korean workers struggle after China's `ultimatum`. 0

(Dan Tri) – After the Chinese government issued an `ultimatum` requiring North Korean businesses in the country to close within 120 days, many questions have been raised about the future of workers.

North Korean female employees serving in a restaurant in China (Photo: EPA)

In a quiet neighborhood in Beijing, female employees stood outside a deserted North Korean store waiting for customers.

“Business has declined.

The future of these girls is truly uncertain because the restaurant where they work is one of the businesses forced to close under the Chinese government’s latest ban.

According to the ban, all North Korean businesses in China will have to close within 120 days, starting from September 11.

There are currently about 50,000-60,000 North Koreans working in 50 countries around the world, the majority of which are in Russia and China.

However, many North Koreans working in China may soon have to return home because according to the latest UN sanctions, Chinese companies will not hire new North Korean workers or renew contracts.

A source close to the business community in Dandong, China’s main gateway to North Korea, said Chinese companies were asked not to hire North Korean workers from mid-September.

Some North Korean workers work in mining in China, while the majority work in the service industry, especially in restaurants.

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North Korean workers struggle after China's `ultimatum`.

Chinese and North Korean flags are hung inside a restaurant in China (Photo: Reuters)

It is unclear how long North Korean workers signing contracts with Chinese companies will be able to stay in the country.

The girls working at the Korean restaurant in Beijing are only in their 20s.

“We came here on a three-year contract.

A source in Dandong said North Korean citizens sent abroad are subjected to strict background checks to ensure that they are `politically trustworthy`, including the children of officials.

“For example, one condition (for approval to go abroad) is that the person must have family members still living in North Korea,” the source said.

According to the source, the reason for the above condition is because the North Korean government will force the relatives of its citizens to take responsibility if they intend to defect.

A diplomat in China said that some North Korean businesses will find ways to continue operating in China even after the 120-day deadline ends.

“The 120-day period will allow businesses enough time to restructure so they can continue operating in China in a different form.

However, according to expert Lu Chao, Director of the Border Research Institute at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, most North Korean companies in China, especially restaurants, will have to close because of the Ministry of Commerce.


According to SCMP

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