N. Korean restaurants in China ordered to close down

By Jennie Oh  |  Jan. 7, 2018 at 9:12 PM
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SEOUL, South Korea, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Scores of North Korean restaurants in China may close down by the end of the week, as Beijing enforces international sanctions targeting Pyongyang's nuclear and missile program.

The Chinese government late last year ordered North Korean restaurants in the country to shut down their businesses within 50 days, Yonhap reported, citing a source in China.

More than 100 restaurants are believed to have received the order.

"North Korean restaurants were thriving at one point in the three provinces (Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang) that border the North but due to the strict orders for closure, it seems they will sharply decline," the source said.

Visa extensions for North Korean workers and the crackdown on businesses that hire them have intensified as of late, according to the source.

Restaurant owners are said to be seeking new ways to curb the measure such as transferring the business ownership to a Chinese or Korean-Chinese national.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2375, passed in September, requires North Korean companies in member states including joint ventures with local entities to close down within 120 days.

A new resolution was approved after the North's missile launch on November 29, introducing further restrictions on the regime's oil imports and North Korean laborers.

In line with the latest sanctions, China on Saturday enforced a ban on exports of steel and machinery. It also restricted Chinese firms from shipping more than 4 million barrels of oil and 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products per year.

Previous restrictions didn't apply to crude oil which makes up a large portion of China's energy exports to Pyongyang.

China is North Korea's largest energy supplier and trade partner, making its enforcement of sanctions crucial to global efforts to clamp down on the North's nuclear weapons program.

However, the commerce ministry said the exports of crude oil that affects the lives of ordinary North Koreans will be excluded from the restrictions, SBS reported.

Imports of fabrics, timber, minerals, grains and agricultural products from the North were also banned.

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