White House hails drop in Chinese trade with North Korea

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

This comes after Beijing released year-end customs figures on Friday, showing that imports from North Korea were down 33-percent past year, and over 80-percent in December.

The spokesperson said that the Chinese side had said many times that the United States and North Korea were the direct parties to the nuclear issue on the peninsula.

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

Despite the loss of nearly all trade, the impoverished North has pressed ahead with weapons development that Kim's regime sees as necessary for its survival in the face of USA pressure.

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".

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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. "They are doing a better job of implementing the U.N. Security Council resolutions".

After North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear device yet and launched missiles capable of reaching the U.S., the U.N. Security Council imposed a series of sanctions restricting oil imports and cutting off about 90 percent of its export revenue. The latest round passed last month.

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

While China has rejected calls from past presidents to do more, Beijing is starting to go along with US initiatives to put pressure on North Korea, even accepting USA demands for restrictions on oil exports to the North.

Following the first intra-Korean talks, the two sides had agreed to hold talks on January 20, hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

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