China orders all North Korean companies to shut down operations


China is applying the latest round of United Nations (UN) sanctions against North Korea. It has ordered North Korean companies in the country, including joint ventures with Chinese firms, to shut down by January.

On Thursday, the commerce ministry in Beijing gave the companies 120 days from the date the United Nations resolution was adopted – September 12 – to close.

UN sanctions were imposed on the rogue nation following Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test, in which it claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on Sep. 3. The detonation triggered a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in the country.

The UN Security Council strongly condemned the launches as “highly provocative,” and unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution.

The new resolution sanctions set a cap on crude and refined oil exports to North Korea at 8.5 million barrels per year, a 30 percent reduction, according to U.S. officials. The sale of natural gas is prohibited, and refined petroleum sales are capped at 2 million barrels annually. The resolution also bans all North Korea textile exports, worth an average of $760 million over the past three years.

The resolution also asks countries around the world to inspect ships going in and out of North Korea’s ports and prohibits nations from authorizing new work permits to North Korean citizens, a practice that currently brings the regime about half a billion dollars a year.

The new sanctions represented the ninth Security Council resolution over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.

After the sanctions were announced, North Korea also fired two test missiles over Japan, one on the 14th of September, and one on the 15th. The last missile shot directly over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

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

China’s agreement to abide by the UN sanctions is of particular concern for North Korea. Beijing has historically been Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner, responsible for around 90 percent of North Korea’s commerce.

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