North Korean authorities order expats in China to avoid direct or indirect contact with South Koreans

North Korean authorities are implementing measures to find and blacklist trade projects with ties to South Korea before fully restarting Sino-North Korean trade.

A source in China told Daily NK yesterday that North Korean expatriates, including traders based in Liaoning province, had been ordered to avoid contact with Chinese who had had ties to the South. Koreans in all circumstances.

The order apparently contained the threat that those arrested doing business involving South Korea would receive “more than a slap in the wrist.”

In the past, there have been numerous instances where North Korean traders have used Chinese as intermediaries to import South Korean goods into North Korea or to facilitate orders of goods requested by South Korean businessmen. Korean.

Like most North Korean trade, however, the majority of trade plans with unofficial ties to South Korean citizens were put on hold after North Korean authorities closed the Sino-North Korean border in January. last year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Still, North Korean authorities appear to be implementing measures to prevent companies with unofficial ties to South Korea from resurfacing even after official trade between North Korea and China resumes.

For example, the North Korean authorities checked traders and businesses when they applied for waku (commercial certificates) last month.

North Korean workers entering a store in Dandong, China (taken June 2019). / Image: Daily NK

The authorities allegedly used the personal information provided in the waku apps to find traders engaged in activities related to South Koreans. Now they are demanding that North Korean expatriates residing in China not engage in any activity involving South Koreans.

In addition to ordering North Korean expats in China not to visit restaurants or shops run by South Koreans, North Korean authorities are also banning expats from frequenting establishments run by Chinese citizens of China. Korean descent married to South Koreans. In other words, all direct and indirect contact with South Korean citizens has been banned.

Interestingly, authorities have even banned North Korean expatriates living in China from using South Korean products. However, the preference for South Korean products among North Korean expatriates in the country is said to be so great that some say that “there is not a single [North Korean] housework [in China] which does not use South Korean products. ”

Senior North Korean officials are also known to prefer South Korean products such as rice cookers, cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoo, and medicine. Therefore, some say authorities can turn a blind eye to law enforcement violations to ensure high-ranking executives buy the products they want.

“If we really want to cut off the flow of South Korean goods [into North Korea], we should go to the party officials and see whether or not they use South Korean products, ”another source in China told Daily NK. “Where there is demand, there will be supply.”

North Korea has taken steps to vigorously prevent the influx of outdoor culture into the country following the passage in December 2020 of the “Anti-Reactionary Thought Law,” which targets consumers and distributors of films, dramas and other “South Korean cultural content”.

At the Sixth Cell Secretaries’ Conference last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un focused on tackling “anti-socialism” and ordered increased efforts to “educate” the country’s youth. .

North Korean authorities believe that one of the entry routes for South Korean and “capitalist” culture into North Korea is through traders and expatriates based in China. Going forward, it seems likely that authorities will redouble their efforts to monitor and control the ideology and activities of expatriates as part of efforts to block the flow of information.

* Translated by S&J

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