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Why is N. Korea excluding Chagang Province-based soldiers from overseas work?

North Korea’s Ministry of Defense recently ordered military-affiliated trading companies that recruit soldiers for overseas postings to exclude those from Chagang Province as candidates, a source in the North Korean military told Daily NK on Jan. 4, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons. 

The defense ministry handed down a similar order last year telling companies to filter out soldiers from Chagang Province from their lists of recruits to send overseas. 

In general, North Korean authorities do not ask Chagang Province for recommendations when recruiting workers for overseas postings. 

“[Trading companies] have begun rechecking the lists of former soldiers to be sent overseas, too, for fear that they didn’t weed out the ones from Chagang Province,” he said.

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As for why soldiers from Chagang Province are being excluded, the source said: “The authorities have recently been expanding the military-industrial complex and emphasizing its importance. If soldiers from Chagang Province — home to many munition factories — were to defect, they could divulge important secrets about the structure of military factories.” 

The source said that several agencies – including the defense ministry; the Military Security Command, the military’s counter-intelligence agency; the Ministry of State Security, the country’s secret police; and the Ministry of Social Security, the national police agency – analyzed the defections of soldiers deployed overseas between 2018 and 2023. The order appears to be based on the results of the analysis. 

“While issuing the order to military-affiliated trading companies, the defense ministry also called on them to filter out civilian laborers who did their military service in important units like the Supreme Guard Command, Strategic Force, and First Brigade, completely excluding them from the list of personnel to send overseas,” the source said. 

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler.

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Daily NK works with a network of sources who live in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous due to security concerns. More information about Daily NK’s reporting partner network and information-gathering activities can be found on our FAQ page here.  

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

Read in Korean

January 09, 2024 at 10:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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