Ministers to discuss maritime interdiction at NK meeting in Canada

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"The meeting will bring together nations from across the globe to demonstrate global solidarity against North Korea's unsafe and illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programs", it said. Imports from the North shrank 81.6 percent to $54 million in December, while exports to Pyongyang contracted by 23.4 percent to $260 million, AP said, citing a spokesman for the Chinese customs agency, Huang Songping.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement on Friday.

China reported a substantial decrease in trade with North Korea on Friday, highlighting the impact of sanctions on the rogue state.

Overall trade between the two countries fell 10.5% to about $5B, and the month of December showed trade diving 50.6% compared to 2016.

China has "closed some sanctions gaps", Brian Hook, director of policy planning for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, told reporters in Washington on Thursday.

China and Russian Federation have given North Korea a lifeline, two friends on the UN Security Council ready to tame sanctions to a tolerable level.

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

Earlier, a senior Seoul official said the South made a proposal to the North for both to form a united women's ice hockey team to participate in the Winter Olympics.

The meeting comes after a flurry of diplomacy between North and South Korean and fresh openness from President Trump to the prospect of talks with Pyongyang, although USA officials emphasized Thursday that North Korea's provocations can not be tolerated by the worldwide community.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reacts as he arrives for the opening ceremony of the Cemetery of Fallen Fighters of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in Pyongyang July 25, 2013, as part of celebrations ahead of the 60th anniversary of the signing of a truce in the 1950-1953 Korean War.

The phone call comes after the Koreas held their first high-level talks in two years.

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