China's trade with North Korea plunges as sanctions tighten

China's trade with North Korea plunges as sanctions tighten

China's trade with North Korea plunges as sanctions tighten

The United States has welcomed news of China's drop in trade with North Korea, saying it will help put pressure on Kim Jong-un's regime.

The Chinese customs agency said Friday that imports from the North shrank 81.6 per cent to $54 million while exports to the isolated, impoverished country contracted 23.4 per cent to $260 million.

Japan has also reportedly criticized the meeting.

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.

While the USA 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.

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.

In a meeting with allies in Vancouver, B.C. next Tuesday, the United States and Canada are expected to ask for the authority to interdict vessels suspected of violating sanctions on North Korea. The latest round passed last month.

Asked whether the USA and North Korea could hold talks during the Olympics, Hook said, "No".

"This action supports the United States-led global effort to apply maximum pressure until the North Korean regime ends its illicit programs, changes its behavior, and moves toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula", it said in a statement.

A different official, asking not to have the information attributed to them, said that "we did not expect China to attend this meeting".

"The South also delivered a document presenting its position regarding the North's participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics and matters on cultural events", the ministry added.

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