Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Chinese trade with North Korea dropped 50 percent last month

Chinese trade with North Korea dropped 50 percent last month

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

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. South Korea recenly seized two product tankers on charges of making illicit high-seas fuel transfers to North Korean ships, but these arrests occurred in port, not in worldwide waters.

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.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested he could have a good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, but refused to say if the two had spoken.

North Korea has repeatedly asserted that sanctions are killing its people while claiming that global diplomatic and economic pressure will never derail its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development programs, essentially telling the world that the regime will starve its people before abandoning its weapons of mass destruction. China and Russian Federation, which both oppose the proposal for maritime interdiction, have not been invited to the summit. "Should the United States and its followers try to enforce the naval blockade against our country, we will see it as an act of war and respond with merciless self-defensive counter-measures as we have warned repeatedly", a government-controlled media outlet said.

Canada and the United States don't seem to agree on whether China should've been on the guest list for a North Korea summit both countries are hosting in Vancouver next week. In addition to reducing trade, China has also severed business ties, restricted financial transactions, kicked out workers, and closed down companies. "This is not an alternative to everything that we are doing", Hook said.

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