The US blacklisted two corporations for exporting North Korean compelled laborers

© Reuters. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing

By Daphne Psaledakis and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on two companies allegedly involved in the export of forced labor from North Korea and warned countries that are still using workers from the country to take them home send.

The US Treasury Department announced in a statement that it has blacklisted Russian construction company Mokran LLC and Korea Cholsan General Trading Corporation, a North Korean company operating in Russia.

"North Korea has a long history of exploiting its citizens by sending them to distant lands to work in difficult conditions to financially support Pyongyang and its weapons programs," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

"The countries that still have North Korean workers must send those workers home," he added.

A 2017 UN Security Council resolution called for all countries to send all North Korean workers home by December 22nd last year to prevent them from earning foreign currency for North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The United States has estimated that Pyongyang makes more than $ 500 million a year with nearly 100,000 workers overseas, around 50,000 of them in China and 30,000 in Russia.

Russia's ambassador to Pyongyang was quoted by Russian media in May as saying that Moscow's efforts to repatriate all North Korean workers within a UN deadline had been hampered by the coronavirus outbreak and that the closure of North Korean borders was preventing the posting of Workers meant home.

In January, Russia said it had missed a United Nations deadline for the repatriation of workers due to so-called objective difficulties, but said it had complied with United States sanctions against Pyongyang.

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