Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of North Korean university students are being mobilized to work at construction sites in wintertime, according to Pyongyang's state media.
Propaganda service Meari said Tuesday the students are using their vacation to contribute to state efforts in building power plants and raising output in mines and cooperative farms.
"Political projects were carried out in various ways and supported efforts and contributed to physical strength" required for the projects, Meari said.
More than 10 universities, including Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, took part in the "voluntary" labor mobilization. Students engaged in hard manual labor including cutting up stone blocks, while giving "strength and courage" to the working class, Meari said.
The North Korean groups were also deployed to Sunchon Phosphate Fertilizer Factory under construction in Sunchon, north of the capital, according to state media.
Kim Jong Un visited the factory earlier this year, where he called for "self-regeneration" and economic initiatives that defy sanctions.
South Korea could be monitoring North Korea's financial activities overseas, following a U.N. deadline on the repatriation of North Korean workers in December.
South Korean news service NK Economy reported Tuesday Seoul's Financial Services Commission's Financial Intelligence Unit has produced a classified report on North Korea's money-laundering activities in the Russian Far East, with a focus on Vladivostok, Ussuriysk, Khabarovsk and Sakhalin.
The FIU is not sharing their findings with the media or the public, citing national security concerns, according to the report.
North Korea has turned down talks with the South in recent months but Seoul has not changed its pro-engagement strategy.
Analysts in Seoul on Tuesday said the two Koreas should engage in an "international cooperation project" to save North Korean forests, Yonhap reported.
Lee Woo-kyun, a professor of environmental science and ecological engineering at Korea University, said at a forum on Korean unification a "master plan" is needed to restore the environment in the North.
North Korea has experienced deforestation for decades.