China's trade with N. Korea plunges due to United Nations sanctions

Canada, US to host meeting on North Korea

Tillerson to attend int'l foreign ministers meeting on North Korea in Canada

China is taking aim at an worldwide summit on North Korea in Vancouver next week, saying the event co-hosted by Canada and the United States is likely to do more harm than good. This comes after Beijing released year-end customs figures on Friday, showing that imports from North Korea were down 33-percent previous year, and over 80-percent in December. Imports from the country also plunged 82 percent in December.

He said: "These officials were truly baffled that a majority of the South Korean population does not seem to have grasped the reality that the Trump administration, despite the risks, is inching ever closer to a preventive strike on North Korea".

As North Korea struggle to cope with economic challenges following sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by United Nations and USA over nuclear and missile development, China says its trade with the Kim Jong Un-led country fell 50 per cent in December from a year earlier. All told, trade between the two sides fell nearly 51 percent during the month.

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While the US may see that as a positive development, China posted a trade surplus with the country a year ago that climbed 10% to a record $275.8B. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is expected to be among the attendees, while US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will participate in a welcome dinner Monday.

"We need to be doing more to deal with vessels that are engaging in prohibited activities under UN Security Council resolutions", said Hook.

In response to North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing, such as the launches of three intercontinental ballistic missiles and the detonation of a staged thermonuclear bomb created to level cities, the U.N. Security Council has imposed tough sanctions on the rogue regime. The latest round passed last month.

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The meeting comes after a flurry of diplomacy between North and South Korean and fresh openness from President Trump to the prospect of talks with Pyongyang, although US officials emphasized Thursday that North Korea's provocations can not be tolerated by the global community.

But Hook said America has kept China informed on enforcing sanctions and added that both it and Russian Federation would be briefed after the Vancouver conference.

-North Korean talks "at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances".

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Tensions have receded dramatically on the peninsula since North and South have held high-level talks at Panmunjom, and North Korea agreed to send its athletes to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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