07/02/2012 12:22 pm ET

North Korea Sending Workers To China To Make Money For State

The North Korean government is making money off the backs of its population.

China is allowing about 40,000 North Korean seamstresses, mechanics, construction workers, miners and others to work in the country on industrial training visas, the Los Angeles Times reports. Most of their wages will go directly to prop up the North Korean government.

The deal hasn’t been announced by governments in either China or North Korea. The LAT cited businesspeople and Korean analysts as the source of their report.

And China isn’t the only place where North Koreans are being sent to work. The North Korean government has reportedly outsourced some of its population to Russia, where the workers live and work in horrific conditions in Siberia, with most of their pay sent to fund the North Korean government, according to a documentary from Vice (h/t the Daily Caller).

By sending some of its population to China to make money for the government, North Korean officials may be putting those workers at risk. In Guangdong, a major Chinese manufacturing zone, migrant workers have clashed with police in recent years over perceived discrimination and abuse, the Guardian reports.

North Korea, which is run by a communist regime, has a relatively tenuous financial situation. Two-thirds of the country’s population faces chronic food shortages, the United Nations reported last month. The country has largely relied on outside aid to feed its population since a famine in the 1990s.

China is one of the few nations with which North Korea has relatively normal trading relations and is therefore one of its biggest trading partners.