After North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear device yet and launched missiles capable of reaching the USA, the UN Security Council imposed a series of sanctions restricting oil imports and cutting off about 90 percent of its export revenue.
"In terms of how big of an impact it (falling trade) had on North Korea, there was definitely impact because some of their products could only go to China while others could only be imported from China", said Chen Fengying, an economics expert at state-backed China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
In 2017, it conducted tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the United States as well as its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. Though exports rose 8.3% to $3.34 billion for the year, a 23.4% decline was reported for December.
When asked if the United States would consider talks with North Korean counterparts during the Olympics, Hook responded, "No".
The North Korean regime has become a main focus of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley's diplomatic mission.
On Thursday, Trump suggested in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he could have a good relationship with Kim, though he left vague the extent of his dealings with the North Korean leader.
"I think we'll look at all things on the table".
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.