Aug. 28 (UPI) — China is forcing out North Korean restaurant workers, refusing to renew their visas, while placing a ban on future North Korea business investments in the world’s second-largest economy.
Beijing’s commerce ministry stated on its website North Korea enterprises and individuals can no longer create joint ventures or China-based foreign entities in the country, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported Monday.
The statement was issued Friday and follows the adoption of sanctions Resolution 2371 at the United Nations Security Council on Aug. 6.
The ban extends to existing North Korean businesses on Chinese soil, now prohibited from expanding its investments, according to the report.
The Chosun also reported the employment visas of North Korean restaurant workers who stay in China, as “service laborers” are not being renewed, and the workers are being asked to leave.
There are an estimated 19,000 North Korean workers in China, but many of them are not service staff and are instead deployed to factories, where their wages are mostly remitted to the Kim Jong Un regime.
The South Korean press report did not mention whether those workers, who far outnumber waitresses and restaurant managers, were the targets of the new Chinese sanctions.
Beijing’s state tabloid Global Times confirmed the report on Monday, referring to the “47th announcement of 2017” from the ministry of commerce.
The announcement is to have the “biggest impact on [North Korean] restaurants,” the Global Times stated.
The Chinese report also stated there are “at least 100 North Korea-managed restaurants” in the country that by “South Korean government estimates, earn about $10 million annually.”
Other North Korean entities that are being targeted are trading companies dealing in “medicines and raw material,” said Liu Zhiqin, a senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial studies at Renmin University.