Chinese trade with North Korea dropped 50 percent last month

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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.

Chinese government had also imposed sanctions on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programme.

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.

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.

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After North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear device yet and launched missiles capable of reaching the U.S., the U.N. Security Council imposed a series of sanctions restricting oil imports and cutting off about 90 percent of its export revenue.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will be in attendance, along with high-level officials from France, Britain, India, Japan, South Korea and other nations that fought in the Korean War, which ended six decades ago.

Brian Hook, the State Department's policy director, said that the USA believes that its diplomatic pressure campaign is the best way to force North Korea to the negotiating table, and that maritime interdiction will help to crack down on smuggling and sanctions-busting. The latest round passed last month.

One source who worked at one of the restaurants said performers could stay as part of a "cultural exchange" agreement between China and North Korea.

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Amid the unprecedented escalation of the tensions on the Korean Peninsula since summer, Russian Federation and China proposed the so-called double freeze plan: with North Korea, on one hand, halting its nuclear and missile programs, while its neighbors, on the other hand, would refrain from holding joint drills with the United States in the region.

Kang also echoed President Moon Jae-in's remarks during his Wednesday telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump, giving credit to Washington for its weighty role to make the inter-Korean talks productive.

It suggested Tuesday for a meeting with the South's three-member delegation led by Vice Minister Chun Hae-sung, to discuss the North's participation, the ministry said in a statement.

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