U.S. welcomes reduced China-N.Korea trade

First signs of thaw between North and South Korea

First signs of thaw between North and South Korea

Despite U.S. President Donald Trump saying in a tweet he thought this is a sign that UN-approved economic sanctions against North Korea are working, Hook said Thursday, "it was largely limited to the Olympics" and "I don't read much beyond it, other than that".

China reported earlier that its imports from North Korea plunged 33 percent past year - and 81.6 percent in December.

The decrease was even more noticeable in December, with overall trade between the two countries coming in 50.6 percent lower than the figure from the previous year.

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China's trade with North Korea plunged 50 percent in December as United Nations sanctions imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development tightened, the government reported Friday.

Despite the loss of nearly all trade, the impoverished North has pressed ahead with weapons development that Kim's regime sees as necessary for its survival in the face of USA pressure.

The ministers will discuss steps to thwart North Korea's evasion of sanctions, including through maritime interdiction, State Department Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook said in a press briefing.

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will co-host the Vancouver Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday to address North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, according to a statement. The latest round passed last month. While China says they support a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, Beijing has resisted sanctions so harsh that they might cause widespread suffering or topple Kim's regime. The official said Canada never got to the "juncture" of inviting China to the actual summit because there was an awareness that Chinese views on the way to move forward are different than those in North America.

Following the first intra-Korean talks, the two sides had agreed to hold talks on January 20, hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

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