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N. Korea hails labor force to woo Chinese firms

All Headlines 14:06 October 20, 2014

BEIJING, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- In an apparent bid to lure Chinese investors, North Korea has publicized somewhat detailed information about its workforce during an annual trade with China, boasting of a well-educated pool of labor.

The North's National Economic Development General Bureau released a booklet to show off its labor force at the five-day trade fair, which ended on Monday in the Chinese border city of Dandong.

According to the booklet, North Korea's total population stood at 24.34 million as of last year. About 12.17 million people constituted a "prepared labor force that can adapt to randomly-chosen professions," according to the booklet.

North Korea also boasted that it extended compulsory education by one year to 12 years from this year.

"In our country, the level of education is high and the potential of intellectual capability is solidly prepared," the booklet said. "There is no unemployment, labor striking or sabotage in our country."

North Korea sent 68 business entities to this year's North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo, the third of its kind, down about 30 percent from last year.

The decline in North Korea's participation at this year's show underscored the continued strain in bilateral relations, particularly since the North's third nuclear test in February last year and the execution of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's once-powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek, who had close ties with Beijing.

China is believed to host tens of thousands of North Korean workers, whose remittances give a much-needed source of foreign currency to the North's regime.

Last week, Shin Bong-sup, consul general at the South Korean Consulate in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, told lawmakers in Beijing that about 7,000 North Koreans are estimated to be working in the three border towns of Dandong, Hunchun and Tumen.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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