The number of North Koreans visiting China legally reached a record high of 180,600 in 2012, an 18% increase over the 2011 figure of 152,300.
Radio Free Asia released the news today, citing Chinese statistics. According to the report, the most common reason for the visits was ‘employment’ (79,600, 44%) followed by ‘business’ (55,200, 31%).
The number visiting China for ‘business’ increased by roughly 10,900 over the 2011 figure, while the number of those visiting for ‘employment’ increased by 4,300.
According to RFA, “This is because of the greater number of exchanges and joint ventures going on between North Korea and China in the economic sector.”
Speaking with RFA, John Park of MIT added, “The situation is like North Korea riding toward economic development on China’s back. There is the possibility that even more North Korean workers could be dispatched to become a major source of funding for Kim Jong Eun.”
Elsewhere in the statistics, 4,500 (2.5%) North Koreans also visited China last year for purposes of tourism and leisure, and 200 (0.1%) went to visit friends and relatives.