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Russia, North Korea sign labor immigration accord

Staff Writer |
Russia and North Korea are deepening bilateral relations with a "labor immigration agreement."

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The development reflects a general trend of increased cooperation between the two countries that recently included plans to increase railroad cooperation and boost study abroad exchanges for North Korean students.

Russian has remained a traditional North Korea partner since the 1950-53 Korean War, although the degree of cooperation has varied with changes of government in Moscow.

Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai reported Monday a consultative meeting between the relevant ministries of Moscow and Pyongyang was held in the North Korean capital on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Russian officials stated an interest in the mid- to long-term plans for an expansion of North Korea "labor immigration," according to the Japanese press report.

The report may raise a flag for human rights activists.

Russia is one of the top destinations for North Korea forced laborers, who are sent to work in labor-intensive industries in the country to earn foreign currency for the Kim Jong Un regime.

It's estimated about 40,000 North Koreans now work in the country.

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