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Taiwan will no longer employ North Korean fishing crews: MOFA

Taiwanese fishing boats will no longer employ North Korean nationals as crew members after July

File Photo

File Photo (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Taiwanese fishing boats will stop employing North Korean nationals as crew members by the end of this month to cooperate with international sanctions imposed on North Korea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.

The ministry was responding to Taiwan's listing in a "North Korea Sanctions & Enforcement Actions Advisory" issued by the United States Department of State as one of 42 countries and jurisdictions that still employ North Korean workers in defiance of United Nations sanctions on hiring laborers from that country.

Taiwan only employs North Koreans in its fishing industry, and MOFA said in a statement that Taiwan's Fisheries Agency has been abiding by United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea in a joint effort to maintain order and stability in the region.

The agency ordered all Taiwanese fishing vessels not to recruit new North Korean crewmen or extend their contracts on Aug. 12, 2016, to comply with the ban on hiring North Korean nationals, the MOFA statement said.

The government has also actively encouraged fishing vessels to terminate contracts with North Korean nationals ahead of time, the ministry said, citing the Fisheries Agency's directive in May 2017 that all Taiwanese fishing vessels should immediately end the employment of any North Korean nationals.

These efforts have proven effective as the 278 North Korean employed by Taiwanese fishing boats in August 2016 have dropped to three as of Monday, according to the statement.

The three are all working on Taiwan-registered deep sea fishing boats currently operating in the Pacific Ocean, and once they dock at nearby ports by the end of the month, the owners of the vessels will let the three North Koreans go, the statement said.