Countries are gathering in Vancouver to discuss sanctions against North Korea (but biggest trading partner China stays away)

By Billy

Countries from around the world will gather in Vancouver, British Columbia today for an international summit on the North Korean nuclear threat.

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland will host the meeting which was called before the recent start of talks between North Korea and South Korea.

Foreign ministers and senior officials from 20 nations are expected to attend and will discuss ways to ensure implementation of wide-ranging UN sanctions, including steps agreed last month to further limit Pyongyang’s access to refined petroleum products, crude oil, and industrial goods.

However, North Korea’s largest trading partner, China, as well as Russia, will not be participating and oppose the meeting.

China has previously said North Korea should be invited to the table for talks about sanctions.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang criticised the meeting:

Holding this kind of meeting that doesn’t include important parties to the Korean peninsula nuclear issue actually cannot help in advancing an appropriate resolution to the issue.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov also slammed the meeting:

We said clearly that we consider these efforts and this meeting to be destructive. When we heard about this meeting, we asked: What is it for, why only for nation’s involved against North Korea in the 1950s war? What do they have to do with the current efforts to resolve the Korean peninsula issue.

Here are North Korea’s biggest trading partners

  • China — makes up around 85 percent North Korea’s imports in 2015 totalling some $2.9bn. China sends everything from oil, clothing, electrical and electronic equipment, synthetic materials, metal fabrications, and vehicles to the country.
  • India — makes up around 3.1 percent North Korea’s imports in 2015 totalling some $109m, consisting mainly of silver and machinery.
  • Russia — makes up around 2.3 percent North Korea’s imports in 2015 totalling some $78.2m.
  • Thailand — makes up around 2.1 percent North Korea’s imports in 2015 totalling some $73.8m.
  • The Philippines — makes up around 1.5 percent North Korea’s imports in 2015 totalling some $53.2m.

Some of the other countries that export to North Korea are Singapore (tobacco and paper), Mexico (petrol), Ukraine (aeronautics), Peru (copper ore), Germany (medical supplies and food), Switzerland(milk) and Senegal (fish).

Data collected from the MIT OEC.

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