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N. Korea mobilizing border residents to earn hard currency: RFA

All News 15:44 January 05, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is mobilizing even residents in a security-sensitive border province to earn badly needed foreign currency abroad, a U.S. broadcaster, monitored in the South, said Thursday.

The North Korean authorities have beefed up security in the northwestern Jakang Province bordering China more than that in the capital Pyongyang in order to prevent the leak of information as the area is home to the North's military industry, with the passage of local residents and visitors into and out of the region strictly controlled, the Radio Free Asia (RFA) said.

However, the North has reportedly been sending Jakang residents abroad to earn foreign currency of late, the broadcaster said.

"Some 100 female workers aged between their late teens and early 20s, who reside in Kanggye and Manpo in (Jakang), have been dispatched to a food processing company in (the Chinese province of) Liaoning under a one-year contract," the broadcaster cited a Chinese source as saying.

"The depletion of labor force for overseas work has led even to the mobilization of Jakang residents," another Chinese source was quoted as saying.

Such dispatch highlights how badly the North Korean regime is in need of foreign currency to such an extent as to risk the danger of the leak of military secrets, the source said.

The North is desperate to rake in foreign currency from its diplomats and overseas laborers in order to accelerate its costly nuclear development program amid the U.N.'s economic sanctions.

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