White House hails dip in Chinese trade with North Korea

White House hails dip in Chinese trade with North Korea

The tough sanctions, created to cripple trade between North Korea and its main trading partner, came after Pyongyang carried out a series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests past year.

As North Korea struggle to cope with economic challenges following sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by United Nations and US over nuclear and missile development, China says its trade with the Kim Jong Un-led country fell 50 per cent in December from a year earlier. It will be co-hosted by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

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.

The measures could include stopping and inspecting ships bound for North Korea.

"Discussions will focus on advancing and strengthening diplomatic efforts toward a secure, prosperous and denuclearized Korean peninsula", it continued.

Washington and Pyongyang are in a stand-off over North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, which could be used to target the United States and her allies.

White House hails dip in Chinese trade with North Korea

China, the main source of North Korea's fuel, also did not export any gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to its neighbour. Both countries have denied the charges.

While several key powers, including China and Japan, are reportedly not attending the meeting, the State Department said Thursday that the event will "bring together national from across the globe".

Analyst Mark Valencia, a researcher at China's National Institute for South China Sea Studies, warned past year that attempts to authorize high-seas interdictions would essentially legalize an act of war - an opposed boarding of another flag state's vessel - and potentially undermine the principle of freedom of navigation.

"We believe that only in this format, at the negotiating table, in a calm and normal atmosphere this very complex problem can and should be solved", Zakharova said, ruling out any possibility of a military option.

In an apparent reference to the guest list, China's Lu also warned Wednesday against perpetuating "Cold War" thinking.

He said the pressure campaign will not end until the world is assured that the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons has been verifiably abandoned.

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