China orders all North Korean businesses to close down by January 2018
North Korea has been at the front of international headlines for months now. As the secretive state's relationships with the outside world continue to crumble, some of the world's biggest powerhouses have been under intense pressure to rein in the threat that Kim Jong Un is intent on posing to his so-called opponents.
Now, China has taken the first step.
Today, the Chinese government has ordered all North Korean companies that are based in the nation to shut down - a move which runs in accordance with the UN sanctions imposed in response to Pyongyang's latest nuclear missile tests.
China's commerce ministry issued a statement asserting that any North Korean firms or overseas joint ventures with North Korean businesses or individuals in China must be closed within 120 days of the UN decision, which was announced on September 12.
At the ninth Security Council sanctions resolution over North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programmes since 2006, the UN unanimously ruled to ban textile exports and cap fuel supplies to the state. However, North Korea's sixth and largest nuclear test took place only this month, prompting the need for increased sanctions.
Whilst Beijing has, in the past, commanded banks to cease dealings with the isolated regime, the US has repeatedly expressed concern that China isn't doing enough to stamp out the nuclear threat that North Korea poses to the outside world.
Indeed, 90 per cent of North Korea's trade lies in China, meaning these sanctions are serious strain to the North Korean economy. A strain serious enough, perhaps, to lure North Korea into ceasing its repeated threats of nuclear warfare.
On Saturday, the Chinese government also announced that it would cut off gas, and moderate the quantity of refined petroleum that it sends to North Korea. This comes as a significant move, as China provides the country with the majority of its energy supply.
However, officials failed to mention that they were planning to reduce the amount of crude oil they send to North Korea, as the substance comprises the bulk of the energy China supplies to North Korea.
Tensions are certainly heightening between North Korea and the US. This week, the North Korean government asserted that it was "inevitable" that a rocket would hit the mainland US, and cajolingly claimed that comments made by the 45th President of the United States in Donald Trump amounted to a "declaration of war".
And at a news conference, Donald Trump addressed these remarks by saying: "we are totally prepared for the second option, not a preferred option. But if we take that option, it will be devastating, I can tell you that, devastating for North Korea. That's called the military option. If we have to take it, we will.”
More information will be made public after this weekend, when Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, travels to China to discuss plans with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and diplomat Yang Jiechi.