North Korean soldiers dispatched to Russia long past their discharge period, still earning foreign currency

North Korean workers sent to Russia. /Photo = Provided by Dong-A University Professor Kang Dong-Wan

It is known that North Korean soldiers sent to Russia to earn foreign currency cannot return to their home country even after the period of return and discharge has passed and are suffering in the field.

According to Daily NK, a Russian source in North Korea on the 1st, four soldiers, including Choi, in their 20s, from the 7th General Bureau dispatched to Moscow could not return to North Korea and are being used to earn foreign currency even after the period of discharge as well as the period of dispatch in principle has passed. .

North Korea has usually set the period of stay for workers dispatched overseas to be three years, and has dispatched shift personnel in a timely manner. As a rule, dispatched soldiers return to their homes after three years of service.

However, as North Korea completely closed its borders due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the return of soldiers dispatched overseas to self-defense is being delayed. This is the case with Choi and four others.

These soldiers were sent to Russia in 2018, before the outbreak of COVID-19. In principle, he should have returned to North Korea in 2021. Moreover, although they were eligible for full discharge last year, it is said that the discharge order continues to be delayed and they are still being forced to earn foreign currency in Russia.

In the midst of this, there are also signs of departure of some dispatched soldiers. In fact, it is reported that in the middle of last month, two soldiers of the 7th General Bureau went out of the unit without permission in Moscow and were caught by the National Security Agency agents.

During the investigation, they stated that they were going to work at night to make money, but the National Security Agency arrested them on suspicion of defecting and is currently detaining them, the source said.

In this regard, the source said, “When[North Korea]sends its soldiers abroad, the first thing to consider is whether they are people who will not run away. We want to use more manpower.”

North Korea puts loyalty to the Party and the leader first, and conducts the selection of overseas dispatchers. Here, a device is set up to prevent North Korean defection by taking the family as a kind of hostage. It is the logic of ‘even if ideology changes, family love does not change’.

A source said, “There are soldiers in other units who could not return to their home countries even after their retirement age has passed.

Meanwhile, the National Intelligence Service announced in February last year that the mandatory military service period in North Korea had been shortened from 9 to 10 years for men to 7 to 8 years and from 6 to 7 years for women to 5 years in a report to the National Assembly Intelligence Committee in February last year.

Source: DailyNK by

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