The Chinese government has dealt a blow to North Korea’s attempts to generate foreign currency by placing limits on the issuance of certain types of work
visa to North Korean nationals, Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun alleged in a piece published on April 15th.
According to the Asahi piece, limits were placed on 1-year work visas last summer, and this was followed in February 2014 by the halting of short-term working
visa issuance for laborers. However, it appears the new restrictions do not apply to skilled applicants. Citing a Chinese businessman, it explained, “Visas for technicians are being issued, but not for factory laborers.”
The newspaper’s analysis of the evidence is that the Chinese authorities implemented the visa restrictions in order to protect the country’s domestic labor market, whilst also putting pressure on the North Korean regime in the aftermath of a string of provocations and threats. It further alleged Chinese distrust of the Kim regime following the sudden arrest and execution of Jang Song Taek in December.
Finally, the report noted that statistics released by China’s customs authorities
reveal that Sino-North Korean trade volumes in February of this year fell 14% when compared with the same
month of 2013.