BEIJING - China said Thursday North Korean companies operating in the country will have to shut down by January as Beijing applies UN sanctions imposed following Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test.

The commerce ministry said the companies, including joint ventures with Chinese firms, have 120 days to close from the date the United Nations resolution was adopted, September 11.

The sanctions spare, on a case by case basis, entities involved in non-commercial activities or public utility infrastructure projects that do not generate profits.

The announcement comes days after China confirmed that it will apply another major part of the sanctions: a limit on exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea starting October 1 and a ban on textiles from its neighbour.

In August, China banned North Korean firms and individuals from establishing new companies in its territory following a separate set of sanctions.

China's application of UN sanctions is particularly biting for North Korea. Beijing is Pyongyang's main ally and trading partner, responsible for around 90 percent of the hermit nation's commerce.

The United States has pressed China to use its economic leverage to strongarm North Korea into giving up its nuclear ambitions. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Beijing this weekend for talks with China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Tillerson will discuss the North Korean nuclear tensions, trade issues and President Donald Trump's planned trip to China in November, the US State Department said.

Trump's tour will also take in regional allies Japan and South Korea. Washington has alternated between criticising and praising Beijing's role in the North Korea crisis, on the one hand welcoming its support for new sanctions but also insisting it must do more to rein in its unruly neighbour.

For its part, China has called on both Trump and North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un to tone down their increasingly bellicose rhetoric and instead try to begin peace talks. "We are opposed to any war on the Korean peninsula, and the international community will never allow a war (which would) plunge people into an abyss of misery," foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing. "Sanctions and the promoting of talks are both the requirements of the UN Security Council. We should not overemphasise one aspect while ignoring the other," Lu said.

N Korea accuses Trump of

exploiting student’s death

North Korea on Thursday accused Donald Trump of exploiting Otto Warmbier's death, calling the US president an "old lunatic" for alleging that the American student was tortured while in Pyongyang's custody.

In a statement issued by the official KCNA news agency, North Korea's foreign ministry attacked the US for "luring and pushing" the 22-year-old student into breaking the country's laws."Trump and his clique, for their anti-DPRK propaganda, are again exploiting the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who had been under reform through labour for the criminal act he committed against the DPRK and died after returning to the US," it said, using the acronym for the North's official name.

Warmbier, who was visiting the North as a tourist in January 2016 when he was arrested and imprisoned by the regime, died in June this year, just days after he was released from custody and sent home in a mysterious coma.

In the statement, the North accused "an anti-DPRK conspiracy organisation in the US" of sending Warmbier to the country on a criminal "mission".

"The fact that the old lunatic Trump and his riff-raff slandered the sacred dignity of our supreme leadership, using bogus data full of falsehood and fabrications, only serves to redouble the surging hatred of our army and people towards the US and their will to retaliate thousand-fold," it said.

The statement came after a US medical examiner said Warmbier had shown no obvious signs of torture despite assertions by his parents and Trump.

His parents, in a series of American television interviews Tuesday, said their son showed signs of torture, including teeth that appeared to have been "rearranged," and hands and feet that were disfigured.

"They kidnapped Otto, they tortured him, they intentionally injured him. They are not victims, they are terrorists," Fred Warmbier said on the programme "Fox and Friends".

After the airing of the interview, Trump for the first time accused North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's regime of torturing Warmbier.

Trump said: "Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea."

But coroner Lakshmi Sammarco, who examined Warmbier's body after his death, said there was no clear evidence of physical torture - including no recently broken bones or damaged teeth.

"We don't know what happened to him. That's the bottom line," she said. "We're never going to know, unless the people who were there come forward and say, 'This is what happened to Otto.'"

Tensions have flared in recent weeks following Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test that triggered a new round of tough United Nations sanctions and an escalated war of words between Kim and Trump, who has ignored pleas from US allies to tone down his rhetoric.

In its latest statement, the North's foreign ministry said: "Trump should... be fully aware that he and his clique shall be held totally responsible for all the undesirable turn of events to be caused by the careless and imprudent remarks that he gabbles on wagging his tongue in and out of his big mouth".

Three Americans accused of various crimes against the state remain behind bars in the North.