The Chinese commerce ministry has announced that all North Korean businesses and and joint ventures in China will be shuttered by early 2018. The order follows a United Nations resolution to slap North Korea with a sanctions package in response to the dictator Kim Jong Un's expanding nuclear program.
On Sept. 28, Chinese officials ordered all North Korean-owned businesses and any joint ventures involving North Korean firms in China to be closed down by January 2018, reports The Associated Press. The announcement was prompted by a U.N. resolution against the Kim regime.
On Sept. 11, the U.N. Security Council voted to impose stricter sanctions on North Korea in response to the regime's escalating nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The Chinese commerce ministry has given North Korean-owned businesses in China 120 days to close. The grace period started the day of the U.N. vote.
The new U.N. sanctions could cost North Korea up to $800 million in annual exports and an additional $500 million in profits from overseas labor. China is North Korea's largest trading partner, but it remains unclear how much the closing down of North Korean businesses will cost the isolated nation, according to the South China Morning Post.
While North Korean businesses invested $11.2 million into China in 2010, that number fell to $70,000 in 2015. Currently, the bulk of North Korean-owned investments in China are in restaurants, which number more than 100.
"Those restaurants don't generate a huge amount of revenue for the Kim regime, so this ban won't fundamentally hurt the North Korean economy," said North Korean affairs expert Zhang Huizhi of Jilin University in Changchun, China.
Following the Chinese commerce ministry's announcement, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang urged U.S. President Donald Trump to tone down his rhetoric toward North Korea.
"The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is related to regional peace and stability," Kang said. "Breaking the deadlock requires all relevant parties to show their sincerity."
On Sept. 19, Trump asserted during an address before the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. was prepared to take full military action to destroy North Korea if the regime did not halt its nuclear program, according to The Washington Post
"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," Trump said, "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself."