Sri Lanka, Poland, say no to North Korean workers

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Sept. 28, 2017 at 12:51 PM
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Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Countries that once welcomed North Korean forced laborers to farms and construction sites are banning workers or asking existing workers to leave.

Sri Lanka and Poland are applying new restrictions on North Korean labor mobility in abidance with United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions, Voice of America reported Thursday.

The measures are being taken as Malaysia, a country that enjoyed friendly ties with Pyongyang since 1973, is executing a North Korea travel ban, citing tensions on the peninsula.

According to VOA, the Sri Lankan government is no longer allowing North Koreans to use its online system to apply for a work visa, and banning them from applying for the visas at diplomatic missions overseas.

North Koreans are also not allowed to apply for visitor or tourist visas, according to the report.

In a statement on its policies, Sri Lanka said the regulations allow the country to "fulfill our obligations" and implement Resolution 2321, while supporting nuclear non-proliferation.

In Poland, North Koreans will no longer be issued temporary residence permits or work permits, according to VOA.

Poland is complying with a European Union request to suspend the issuance of permits, and abiding by U.N. Resolutions 2371 and 2375.

Poland still hosts 400 North Korean workers who earn foreign currency for the Kim Jong Un regime.

Malaysia previously hosted North Korean "guest workers" but they may have all voluntarily left the country, or were expelled, following the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader's half-brother, in an airport in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia may be further distancing itself from Pyongyang following weapons provocations.

In a statement released Thursday, the Malaysian government stated all citizens are banned from visiting North Korea until further notice, Yonhap reported.

Malaysia's foreign ministry cited "tensions on the Korean peninsula" as one of the reasons for the travel ban, although a similar ban was not announced for South Korea, a popular tourist destination.

The announcement comes after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he would review diplomatic ties with North Korea, following a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

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