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N. Korea orders Russia-based companies to restrict workers’ contact with S. Koreans

The North Korean authorities have ordered its companies in Russia to tightly restrict workers’ contact with South Koreans, Daily NK has learned.

According to a source in Russia on Mar. 19, employees of the Moscow-based Namgang Corporation, which is under the Seventh General Bureau, were assembled on Mar. 19 and notified of the new policy.

During the meeting, the president of the Namgang Corporation said that the focus of the policy is to “stomp out any instances in which workers of the Russia-based company interact with citizens of South Korea’s ‘puppet state’ for work or other reasons.”

While North Korea has always restricted its workers in Russia from contacting South Korean citizens, the new policy appears to be aimed at highlighting that workers should not be in contact with anyone who could encourage them to defect. 

“In his announcement, the president of Namgang Corporation reminded the workers that Russia has close ties with North Korea and will arrest anyone who attempts to escape,” the source said. “He urged those with wavering loyalties to come to their senses and commit themselves to fulfilling state-set production plans.” 

The company’s president further said that “in the past, Russia would simply deport South Korean citizens who hid runaway North Korean workers, but starting this year, it has chosen to promote justice and trust with our fatherland [North Korea] by detaining, arresting, and exposing the concealed places used by these South Koreans.” His statement suggests that the North Korean government believes the new policy will bring about a decline in efforts by South Koreans to rescue defectors. 

During the meeting, a state security official also warned the workers that “Russian law enforcement is actively cooperating with North Korea to promote measures that will prevent workers from escaping. Those who knowingly attempt to contact South Korean citizens will endanger their families back home.”

After the meeting, workers said among themselves that the emphasis on North Korea’s close ties with Russian law enforcement was meant to inspire fear.

Amid deepening ties between the two countries, Daily NK has reported that increased cooperation between Russia and North Korea’s intelligence agencies is making it more difficult for North Korean workers in Russia to defect.

Translated by Audrey Gregg. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

March 20, 2024 at 12:30PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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