Singapore revokes all North Korean work permits

The United Nations Security Council meets concerning North Korea in New York City on March 21, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS - Singapore has revoked all work permits held by North Korean citizens in the country, according to its latest implementation report to the United Nations Security Council.

The Republic will also not grant new work permits to North Koreans, said the report which was submitted to the Sanctions Committee on North Korea last week.

The report outlined the measures taken by Singapore to implement the provisions under Resolution 2397 of the UN Security Council.

Resolution 2397, adopted unanimously on Dec 22 last year, was in response to North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile on Nov 28 that year. It condemned the launch and further tightened sanctions on the country, restricting fuel imports and other trade, as well as the ability of its citizens to work abroad.

The resolution expressed concern that North Korean nationals continue to work in other countries for the purpose of generating foreign currency that Pyongyang "uses to support its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programmes".

The resolution mandated that member states repatriate all North Korean workers in their jurisdictions no later than December 2019, or two years from the adoption of the resolution.

In its implementation report dated March 19, the Singapore government said: "Singapore has revoked the work passes of all nationals of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea earning income in Singapore and will not grant new work passes to nationals of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"There are therefore no nationals of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with work passes in Singapore."

Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.

To raise awareness of the resolution, relevant authorities in Singapore have "proactively engaged business owners and relevant entities to remind them of existing and new restrictions" imposed on North Korea, according to the report.

Financial institutions in Singapore have also been alerted to the risk of North Korea "using nominees, front companies and Singaporean companies" to circumvent the UN Security Council's resolutions, said the report.

In November last year, Singapore suspended all commercial trade with North Korea, a provision also mentioned in the implementation report last week.

"Singapore has imposed a prohibition on the import, export, re-export, transit and trans-shipment of all goods for the purposes of trade with any person in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," said the report.

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