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PoliticsNorth Korea

US and Asian allies urge support for North Korea worker ban

April 7, 2023

Top envoys of South Korea, US and Japan called on UN member states to abide by the UN resolution to ban North Korean workers, saying they are involved in "malicious cyber activities."

Funakoshi Takehiro, Kim Gunn and Sung Kim shaking hands in front of flags
The envoys of Japan, South Korea and the US urged UN member states to abide by the UN resolution on banning North Korean workersImage: Jeon Heon-Kyun/Getty Images

The US, South Korea and Japan urged UN member states on Friday to ban North Korea from sending workers overseas, claiming they help fund Pyongyang's nuclear program.

The appeal came after the top envoys of the three countries met in Seoul to discuss measures to control North Korea's growing nuclear arsenal.

"Overseas DPRK IT workers continue using forged identities and nationalities to evade UNSC sanctions and earn income abroad that funds the DPRK's unlawful weapon of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs," the three officials said in a joint statement, using the acronym for North Korea's official name.

Japan, South Korea put new focus on militaries

The representatives of Japan, South Korea and the US also alleged that North Korea is involved in "malicious cyber activities" that help expand its military.

"We are also deeply concerned about how the DPRK supports these programs by stealing and laundering funds as well as gathering information through malicious cyber activities," the joint statement said.

Envoys urge follow-through on UN resolution

Under a 2017 UN resolution, member states had agreed for a December 2019 deadline to send back all North Koreans working abroad.

The envoys called on the international community to abide by the UN resolution on banning North Korean workers.

Are North Korean hackers after your crypto?

In December, South Korea's intelligence agency said that in the last five years, North Korean hackers had stolen cryptocurrency and virtual assets worth 1.5 trillion won ($1.2 billion; €1.04 billion).

Sung Kim, the US special representative to North Korea, said that with its nuclear and missile programs and "malicious cyber program" Pyongyang threatens global security.

The trilateral meeting is likely to anger North Korea, which had earlier warned it was the three countries' efforts for security cooperation that led Pyongyang to boost its own military power.

mf/rs (AP, AFP, Reuters)