North Korean firms in China ordered to close by January

China has ordered North Korean companies in the country to shut down by January as it applies UN sanctions imposed following Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test, the commerce ministry said Thursday in Beijing.

The ministry said the companies, including joint ventures with Chinese firms, have 120 days to close from the date the United Nations resolution was adopted, September 11.

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 UN 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 strong-arm 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.

At a news briefing on Thursday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said: “We are opposed to any war on the Korean peninsula.”

“Sanctions and the promoting of talks are both the requirements of the UN Security Council. We should not overemphasize one aspect while ignoring the other.”

China says will protect sovereignty from any conflict on Korean peninsula

China’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday that the Chinese military will make all necessary preparations to protect national sovereignty and regional peace and stability, when asked about the risk of conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian made the comments at a monthly briefing in Beijing when asked what preparations China was making in case a war breaks out.

Wu also reiterated China’s view that the issue should be resolved via talks, not military means, which he said were not an option to resolve tensions.

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