White House welcomes China's drop in trade with North Korea past year

Sergio Conner
January 14, 2018

This comes after Beijing released year-end customs figures on Friday, showing that imports from North Korea were down 33-percent past year, and over 80-percent in December.

North Korean restaurants continue to do brisk business in China, despite United Nations Security Council sanctions that ban the operation of North Korean-owned businesses and the deployment of overseas North Korean laborers.

He also said China and Russian Federation, which have not been invited, will be briefed on the discussions after the meeting.

It followed an announcement by the Chinese government that its imports from the North shrank 33 percent in 2017 from the previous year to 1.72 billion dollars.

Writing on the US-based website 38 North, Vorontsov said North Korean diplomats the foreign ministry are certain that the United States is determined to wage a war against their country even when Seoul is oblivious to Trump's administration's motives. The U.S. sees cutting off North Korea's economic ties with China - the country's dominant trading partner - as essential to forcing Kim back to the negotiating table.

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In December, North Korea said that a maritime interdiction campaign could lead to military conflict. 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.

State Department director of policy planning Brian Hook said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be looking for help developing "practical mechanisms" to pressure Pyongyang.

While China has rejected calls from past presidents to do more, Beijing is starting to go along with US initiatives to put pressure on North Korea, even accepting USA demands for restrictions on oil exports to the North.

Earlier, a senior Seoul official said the South made a proposal to the North for both to form a united women's ice hockey team to participate in the Winter Olympics.

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