Beijing orders North Korean firms in China to close under UN sanctions

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 28.09.2017 13:51
Updated 28.09.2017 18:02
Photo shows skyline of Beijing's central business district. (AFP Photo)
Photo shows skyline of Beijing's central business district. (AFP Photo)

Chinese news reports say the government has ordered most North Korean-owned businesses and ventures with Chinese partners to close under U.N. sanctions imposed over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

A Ministry of Commerce order quoted by multiple news outlets on Thursday said businesses owned by North Korean companies or individuals must close within 120 days of the Sept. 11 approval of the latest sanctions.

U.N. sanctions that have been steadily tightened ban North Korea from selling coal and textiles and order other governments to limit fuel supplies.

The announcement comes days after China confirmed that it will apply another major part of the sanctions: a limit on exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea starting October 1 and a ban on textiles from its neighbor.

China's application of U.N. sanctions is particularly biting for North Korea. Beijing is Pyongyang's main ally and trading partner, responsible for around 90 percent of the hermit nation's commerce.

The United States has pressed China to use its economic leverage to strongarm North Korea into giving up its nuclear ambitions.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Beijing this weekend for talks with China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

For its part, China has called on both Trump and North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un to tone down their increasingly bellicose rhetoric and instead try to begin peace talks.

"We are opposed to any war on the Korean peninsula, and the international community will never allow a war (which would) plunge people into an abyss of misery," foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing.

"Sanctions and the promoting of talks are both the requirements of the U.N. Security Council. We should not over-emphasize one aspect while ignoring the other," Lu said.

While China has imposed sanctions on its renegade neighbor, it wants to avoid precipitating the regime's downfall over fears that its collapse could send an influx of refugees across its border and place the U.S. army at its doorstep.

But Beijing appears to be running out of patience with North Korea's nuclear antics -- the last test earlier this month triggered an earthquake that was felt in northeast China.

Branches of China's biggest banks have told AFP that they have suspended financial transactions for North Koreans, a measure that is not required under U.N. sanctions.

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