SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea said Friday that it has proposed a meeting with North Korea next week to discuss details of its participation in next month's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South.
The South's Unification Ministry said it suggested holding the meeting Monday at the border village of Panmunjom with a delegation of three South Korean officials.
Earlier this week, the two Koreas held their first talks in about two years at the border village.
They agreed to hold military talks and restore a military hotline. The North also agreed to send a delegation of officials, athletes, cheerleaders, journalists and others to the Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The accords were widely viewed as a positive step after a year of escalating tension over North Korea's rapidly advancing nuclear and missile programs.
Meanwhile, China's trade with North Korea was reported to have shrunk by more than half last month, as Beijing implements United Nations sanctions against Kim Jong Un's government over its nuclear weapons program.
The value of Chinese goods exported to North Korea last month fell 23 percent year on year, according to data released Friday by China's General Administration of Customs. Imports from the country also plunged 82 percent in December. All told, trade between the two sides fell almost 51 percent during the month.
In 2017 as a whole, China's overall trade with North Korea declined by more than 10 percent to about $5 billion, as U.S. President Donald Trump secured Beijing's backing for four escalating rounds of sanctions.
The U.S. sees cutting off North Korea's economic ties with China, the country's dominant trading partner, as essential to forcing Kim back to the negotiating table.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Friday that the administration "is pleased that China is sharply reducing its trade with North Korea," adding that the action "supports the United States-led global effort to apply maximum pressure until the North Korean regime ends its illicit programs."
China has "closed some sanctions gaps," Brian Hook, director of policy planning for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, told reporters Thursday in Washington. "They are doing a better job of implementing the U.N. Security Council resolutions."
After North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear device yet and launched missiles capable of reaching the U.S., the U.N. Security Council imposed a series of sanctions restricting oil imports and cutting off about 90 percent of its export revenue. The latest round passed last month.
Information for this article was contributed by Youkyung Lee of The Associated Press and by Peter Martin of Bloomberg News.
A Section on 01/13/2018
Print Headline: S. Korea invites North to talk Olympics