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Workers abroad, oil seen as next step on North Korea sanctions

Tokyo, Washington seek to hit Pyongyang where they haven't before

SOTARO SUZUKI, Nikkei staff writer | China

SEOUL -- As Japan and the U.S. push for even tougher sanctions on North Korea following its latest nuclear test, the United Nations Security Council is expected to consider new penalties covering mainly two key lifelines for Pyongyang: its laborers in foreign countries and the oil it imports.

North Korea is estimated to have sent up to 147,600 laborers abroad, according to the South's Korea Institute for National Unification. Up to 80,000 are in China, the top taker, followed by Russia at up to 53,000. Mongolia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are also said to have thousands each.

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