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North Korea's ruling party to meet amid 'tense situation' - state media

11 April 2019

Japan was reported on Tuesday to have lengthened restriction measures imposed against North Korea until 2021.

"North Korea is targeting the USA, sending a message that we will not back down, so the USA must change its stance".

A bus carrying Chinese tourists crosses a new bridge linking the Chinese city of Jian, Jilin Province with North Korea's Manpo on Monday.

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The Japanese government plans to continue enforcing sanctions in cooperation with the United States and South Korea.

At a plenary session past year, Kim formally announced a "new strategic line" of focusing on economic progress and improving North Koreans' lives, rather than the previous two-pronged approach of both economic and nuclear weapons development.

Japan reportedly made the decision amid the uncertainty in the North Korean-US talks on further steps as part of the denuclearization efforts. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has been promising his people an economic renewal that would be almost impossible to achieve without loosening sanctions and repairing his somewhat strained relationship with China.

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While Pyongyang publishes virtually no economic statistics of its own, Chinese Customs figures show exports to China have plummeted by more than 90 percent since 2016, down to $213 million past year - although some observers question their reliability Sanctions relief was top of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's agenda for his Hanoi summit with US President Donald Trump in February.

In 2017, China's overall trade with North Korea declined by more than 10 percent to about USD5 billion, as Trump secured Beijing's backing for four escalating rounds of sanctions in response to North Korea nuclear weapons program testing.

Asked if "maximum economic pressure" remains the Trump administration's position on North Korea, Pompeo replied yes. The opening was delayed by UN Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea.

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North Korea's ruling party to meet amid 'tense situation' - state media