China puts deadline on North Korea


kimCHINA says North Korean companies operating in the country will have to shut down by January as Beijing applies United Nation sanctions imposed after Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test.

The commerce ministry said on Thursday that the companies, including joint ventures with Chinese firms, have 120 days to close from the date the UN resolution was adopted, September 11.

The sanctions spare, on a case-by-case basis, entities involved in non-commercial activities or public utility infrastructure projects that do not generate profits.

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 neighbour.

In August, China banned North Korean firms and individuals from establishing new companies in its territory following a separate set of sanctions.

China’s application of UN sanctions is particularly biting for North Korea. Beijing is Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner, responsible for about 90 per cent 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.

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson will visit Beijing this weekend for talks with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and foreign minister Wang Yi.

Mr Tillerson will discuss the North Korean nuclear tensions, trade issues and President Donald Trump’s planned trip to China in November, the US State Department said.