Chinese Trade With North Korea Plunged by 50 Percent Last Month

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Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated in November 2017, when North Korea conducted a missile launch, the first since September 15.

China said it has halted exports of steel, iron, industrial and transportation equipment to North Korea.

Instead, only those countries that deployed troops as part of the United Nations during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953 have been invited to participate in the discussions, which China has blasted as "Cold War thinking". Several news reports have indicated that China will not be attending. Russian Federation and China, the two nations with arguably the greatest sway over the regime, will not be there, making it unlikely the Vancouver meeting gathering will produce a significant breakthrough, Paris said.

"We look forward to engaging with a broad range of partners next week in Vancouver", Trudeau said in London, Ont., where Liberal cabinet ministers were wrapping up two days of meetings before the return of Parliament on January 29.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sidestepped questions Friday about the lack of an invitation to China for the Vancouver meeting, which some have suggested will limit whatever progress can be achieved.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told journalists Wednesday that the meeting will not help the situation because key players are not included.

Yet without Russian Federation and China, both of which have been involved in the so-called Six-Party Talks aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to North Korea's nuclear program, it's unclear what the Vancouver meeting can really achieve.

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Brian Hook, the State Department's policy director, said that the USA believes that its diplomatic pressure campaign is the best way to force North Korea to the negotiating table, and that maritime interdiction will help to crack down on smuggling and sanctions-busting.

"We believe that only in this format, at the negotiating table, in a calm and normal atmosphere this very complex problem can and should be solved", Zakharova said, ruling out any possibility of a military option. This ministerial will enhance and strengthen all of the efforts under way.

Both Canadian and American officials said that they will be briefing China on the results of the Vancouver summit.

Meanwhile, Japan is questioning why countries like Colombia and Greece will be there - and it won't.

China has criticized an upcoming meeting of foreign ministers in Canada to discuss ways to increase pressure on North Korea.

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

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