Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Sanctions Bite North Korea as US Allies Set to Weigh Naval Blockade

Sanctions Bite North Korea as US Allies Set to Weigh Naval Blockade

At the same time, he said any solution to the regional problem must also take into account and address concerns about the proliferation linkages of North Korea's nuclear and missile programme.

While Chinese exports to North Korea increased in 2017 by 8.3 percent, imports slumped 33 percent from the year earlier, Market Watch reports. Imports from the country also plunged 82 percent in December.

The Trump administration is "pleased that China is sharply reducing its trade with North Korea", the White House said Friday in an official statement.

As Beijing implemented new United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang, China reported a sharp drop in business with North Korea in 2017.

For the month of December, the change was even more dramatic: Overall trade for that month fell 50.6 percent from the same period in 2016. "They are doing a better job of implementing the U.N. Security Council resolutions". Beijing has imposed limits on oil sales and cut deeply into the North's foreign revenue by ordering North Korean businesses in China to close, sending home migrant workers and banning purchases of its coal, textiles, seafood and other exports.

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Freeland and Tillerson announced plans to hold the January 16 meeting during Tillerson's visit to Ottawa last month.

With sanctions now sinking their teeth into North Korea, the United States and its allies will discuss a naval blockade that could end North Korean smuggling, bringing the maximum pressure campaign towards its endgame.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau quietly issued the directive last month following concerns that the North Korean government was skirting global sanctions through money laundering and other illicit financial activity.

China and Russian supported the north during that conflict.

Tensions have receded dramatically on the peninsula since North and South have held high-level talks at Panmunjom, and North Korea agreed to send its athletes to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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