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