As Sanctions Bite, China Trade With North Korea Plummets

China Says Will Close Down N. Korean Firms in Line with Laws and Regulations

Responding to such concerns on Thursday, Brian Hook, the director of policy planning within the U.S. State Department, said the meeting is focused on United Nations sending states only, but key regional players like neighbours China and Russian Federation are being kept apprised.

On Thursday, Trump suggested in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he could have a good relationship with Kim, though he left vague the extent of his dealings with the North Korean leader.

China, which has traditionally served as an economic lifeline for the North, has started putting pressure on Pyongyang to curb its ballistic and nuclear ambitions.

A resolution adopted by the UN Security Council bans UN members from importing items including coal, iron ore and seafood from North Korea.

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 country explains its opposition by an alleged nuclear threat from the United States. "I'm not saying I have or haven't", he said. China and Russian Federation, which both oppose the proposal for maritime interdiction, have not been invited to the summit.

China's regional weight and ties to North Korea mean it's a central player in any attempt to resolve the crisis; but the summit's attendees are not necessarily naturally aligned with Beijing, according to one of the prime minister's former foreign policy advisers.

"China absolutely needs to be part of any negotiation of the North Korean situation, as will North Korea, and North Korea's not going to be in Vancouver either".

But Hook said Washington remained in contact with China about enforcing the sanctions and pressuring Kim, and that both Beijing and Moscow would be briefed after the talks. Asked whether this meant China had been invited, with the blessing of the USA, he said "yes". "This is not an alternative to everything that we are doing", Hook said.

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