USA hails China's reduction of trade with N. Korea

China says main parties not in Vancouver for meeting on N. Korea, so won't attend

Businesswoman's fate a test of China's resolve on North Korea

In a statement Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that excluding certain U.N. Security Council members will "only create divisions within the global community and harm joint efforts to appropriately resolve the Korean peninsula nuclear issue". They also agreed that North Korea will send a high-ranking delegation, a taekwondo demonstration team and a cheering squad to the Winter Olympic Games scheduled to be held in South Korea's PyeongChang on February 9-25.

The Vancouver meeting is expected to put a heavy emphasis on finding ways to crack down on the many smuggling and money-laundering schemes that Pyongyang has employed to sidestep sanctions and pay for its nuclear program.

The summit, set to take place on January 16, will be co-hosted by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and will welcome ministers from 17 countries, including South Korea, India, Britain, France and the states that fought in the Korean War of 1950-53. "I'm not saying I have or haven't", he said.

The State Department said next week's meeting will begin Monday in Vancouver and "focus on advancing and strengthening diplomatic efforts toward a secure, prosperous and denuclearized Korean peninsula".

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The Chinese customs agency said Friday that imports from the North shrank 81.6 per cent to $54 million while exports to the isolated, impoverished country contracted 23.4 per cent to $260 million.

He also said China and Russian Federation, which have not been invited, will be briefed on the discussions after the meeting. "Should the United States and its followers try to enforce the naval blockade against our country, we will see it as an act of war and respond with merciless self-defensive counter-measures as we have warned repeatedly", a government-controlled media outlet said.

That's a fine idea, except two of the top players in the region and the countries believed to have the most influence on North Korea- China and Russian Federation - aren't invited. "This is not an alternative to everything that we are doing".

There were reports that North Korea had proliferation linkages with Pakistan. This ministerial will enhance and strengthen all of the efforts under way.

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