China Shuts Down North Korean Businesses as Punishment for Nuclear Program

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After the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously in September to increase sanctions on Kim Jong-un’s nation, one of his strongest allies has ordered that all DPRK companies operating within their country to shut down. The businesses have 120 days since the UN resolution was adopted on September 12 to cease operations.

As reported by the Daily Mail, China has given North Korean companies operating within China until January to shut down as it works to apply the UN sanctions that followed the sixth nuclear test by Pyongyang.

The decision also affects joint ventures between China and North Korea.

This announcement from China’s commerce ministry came just days after China asserted that it will apply a second major part of the sanctions by limiting instituting the ban on textile products from North Korea and restricting the export of refined petroleum products to its ally and neighbor.

Beijing’s decision is particularly troublesome for Pyongyang, as the country is also a primary trading partner. Approximately 90 percent of North Korea’s commerce is tied to China.

The US has been applying pressure on China hoping the country would leverage its economic position to force Pyongyang into ceasing the development of its nuclear program.

Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, is scheduled to visit Beijing for talks with Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, and Wang Yi, the foreign minister, this weekend.

The UN Security Council approved the newest round of sanctions as a form of punishment after North Korea conducted a sixth nuclear missile test. The breadth of the ruling included cutting imports of refined petroleum products to just 2 million barrels per year, banning textile exports from North Korea, and strengthening inspections of cargo ships believed to be carrying items in breach of the sanctions.

China’s decision comes at a time when tensions between North Korea and certain other nations, including the US, are particularly high. The move appears to be an effort to help rein in Pyongyang at a time when North Korea stated that it was “inevitable” that their rockets would target the US mainland in the future, a statement that President Donald Trump equated to a “declaration of war.”

Previously, Beijing had ordered banks to no longer worth with the North Korean regime after the US expressed concerns that China wasn’t tough enough in response to the growing nuclear threat.