Chinese trade with North Korea dropped 50 percent last month

According to the United States’ intelligence sources North Korea has between 20 and 50 nuclear weapons. AFP PIC

According to the United States’ intelligence sources North Korea has between 20 and 50 nuclear weapons. AFP PIC

China is by far North Korea's largest trading partner, both as an importer and exporter, but the Associated Press reports China's imports from the North shrank 81.6 percent and exports dipped 23.4 percent.

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.

The Vancouver meeting, cohosted by the US and Canada, will discuss diplomatic efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

The task force is an worldwide body of 35 countries, including Canada, the U.S., China and Russian Federation, that is tasked with examining and developing measures to combat money-laundering and terrorist financing.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will co-host the Vancouver meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Although U.N. sanctions ban countries from issuing new work visas to North Koreans, the waitresses working in China may be in the country on previously issued visas that have not reached expiration.

But diplomats also said they are not completely knowledgeable of how North Korea could achieve nuclear parity with a powerful United States.

On Wednesday, Trump told South Korean President Moon Jae-In the United States was open to holding talks with North Korea "under the right circumstances", according to the White House. 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.

After months of soaring tensions, North Korea agreed this week to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, in what was seen as a potential sign of a cooling-off period.

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.

Asked whether the U.S. and North Korea could hold talks during the Olympics, Hook said, "No".

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