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(2nd LD) China orders N.K. firms to close down

All Headlines 21:41 September 28, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more info in 5-6 paras)

SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) -- China has ordered North Korean companies in the country to close down within 120 days of the United Nations Security Council's passage of the latest of sanctions on Sept. 12, according to China's commerce ministry on Thursday.

The decision, made public on the ministry website, is seen as part of its efforts to intensify pressure on the reclusive state to give up nuclear weapons. It will also apply to China-North Korea joint ventures, it said.

The ministry said it took the action in line with the fresh UNSC resolution adopted in the wake of the North's sixth nuclear test conducted on Sept. 3.

Those firms subject to the order should shut down no later than Jan. 9, the ministry said.

With the latest measure, North Korean restaurants operating in China will be dealt another blow as many of them have already suffered from difficulties in getting or renewing visa for their workers amid increased pressure and scrutiny from Beijing.

"Most restaurants are jointly run by North Koreans and Chinese, thus subject to the order," a source told Yonhap News Agency, adding that they might seek a loophole by borrowing Chinese names to continue operations.

The international community has been stepping up pressure on the North to make it give up its nuclear and missile ambitions.

The U.S. recently announced sanctions targeting any individual or entity that conducts "significant" trade in goods, services or technology with the North.

Calls are growing for China to do more to rein in Pyongyang using its leverage as the North's close ally and largest trading partner.


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