Singapore revokes work permits of N Korean nationals

ANI | Updated: Mar 27, 2018 01:00 IST

Seoul [South Korea], Mar 27 (ANI): The Singapore government on Monday nullified the work permits of all North Korean nationals in the country, according to a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) report on sanctions against the communist country.

The implementation report to the UNSC committee, titled - Resolution 2397, adopted unanimously in December last year, expressed concern that North Koreans continue to work overseas in order to generate foreign currency "in order to support its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs."

The resolution further mandated that "the member states repatriate all North Korean workers in their jurisdictions no later than two years from the adoption of the resolution on December 22, 2019."

The Singapore government officially wrote in the resolution revoking the work permits of all North Korean nationals in the country, NK News reported.

"Singapore has revoked the work passes of all nationals of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea earning income in Singapore and will not grant new work passes to nationals of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)," the report read.

"There are therefore no nationals of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with work passes in Singapore," it added.

While there are no official figures for the number of North Koreans working overseas, there are unconfirmed estimates that at least "tens of thousands" people work outside the communist country.

Although North Korea and Singapore established diplomatic ties in the mid-1970s and have previously enjoyed good relations, the imposition of the sanctions regime repeatedly against Pyongyang in recent years has forced Singapore to enact strictly several measures against the isolated country.

The measures included amendments to an established visa-free agreement with North Korea last year, for better monitoring the entry of North Korean nationals to Singapore.

In November last year, the island city-state announced that it was suspending commercial trade with North Korea, a provision also mentioned in its latest implementation report.

"Singapore has imposed a prohibition on the import, export, re-export, transit and trans-shipment of all goods for the purposes of trade with any person in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," it said.

Despite the measures taken, North Korea's ongoing illicit activities in apparent cooperation with Singaporean entities remain a matter of concern and the subject of several inquiries by a UN Panel of Experts (PoE) tasked with monitoring and enforcing sanctions against the communist country. (ANI)

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