The Chinese government has ordered all North Korean companies based in the country to close as a result of UN sanctions over Pyongyang’s latest nuclear missile tests.
China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday that North Korean firms or joint ventures in China will be shut within 120 days of the UN decision, which was announced on 12 September.
The move comes amid intense international pressure on China to act to rein-in its neighbour.
Beijing had previously ordered banks to stop working with the North Korean regime following US concerns the Chinese government wasn’t being tough enough on the North Korean nuclear threat.
China is North Korea’s main trading partner, making the success of UN sanctions dependent upon Beijing’s cooperation, and the latest sanctions are a clear indication of China’s growing frustration at Kim Jong Un’s regime.
This week, North Korea said it was “inevitable” that its rockets would hit the US mainland in future, and said remarks by Donald Trump amounted to a “declaration of war”.
At a news conference the US President had said: “We are totally prepared for the second option, not a preferred option. But if we take that option, it will be devastating, I can tell you that, devastating for North Korea. That's called the military option. If we have to take it, we will.”
Overseas Chinese joint ventures with North Korean entities or individuals will also be closed, China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website, but it did not provide a timeframe, according to Reuters.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on 12 September to increase sanctions on North Korea, banning its textile exports and capping fuel supplies.
The UN action was triggered by North Korea's sixth and largest nuclear test this month. It was the ninth Security Council sanctions resolution over North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programmes since 2006.
China’s decision will be welcome news to the Trump administration. The US President described China’s earlier move to prevent banks working with North Korea as “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected”, and he thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China, which provides most of North Korea’s energy supplies also announced on Saturday it would cut off gas and limit the amount of refined petroleum products it ships to the country. But the ministry made no mention of plans to reduce crude oil shipments, which make up a significant portion of the energy China supplied to North Korea, but is not covered by UN sanctions.
Agencies contributed to this report.
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