United States hails China's reduction of trade with N. Korea

US welcomes reduced

The official said Canada never got to the "juncture" of inviting China to the actual summit because there was an awareness that Chinese views on the way to move forward are different than those in North America.

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.

One of the options to be discussed, he said, would be naval interdiction to stop North Korean smuggling.

The countries invited to send representatives to Vancouver are the so-called "Sending Powers", those that contributed troops or aid to the United Nations war effort in 1950s Korea.

The penalties that came into force on September 5 past year banned countries from buying coal, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood from North Korea.

"At the same time", he added, "we will continue the ongoing dialogue with all partners, including countries like Russian Federation and China who absolutely will play an important role in moving towards peace on the Korean peninsula".

"It will only create divisions within the worldwide community and harm joint efforts to appropriately resolve the Korean peninsula nuclear issue", spokesman Lu Kang was quoted as telling reporters in Beijing.

A senior USA official said Thursday the United States plans to lobby allies at a major meeting next week to stop and inspect suspect ships bound for North Korea.

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.

But while Canada and the USA have welcomed the Korean discussions, Hook said they were unlikely to change the agenda of the Vancouver meeting or result in a short-term softening of sanctions.

"China is working with us".

Japan has also reportedly criticized the meeting. "This is not an alternative to everything that we are doing", Hook said.

President Donald Trump's "administration is pleased that China is sharply reducing its trade with North Korea", the White House said.

Kang and Tillerson held a telephone conversation earlier in the day, talking about the recently-held high-level talks between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and ways to strengthen cooperation between South Korea and the United States.

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