The State Department said next week's meeting will begin Monday in Vancouver and "focus on advancing and strengthening diplomatic efforts toward a secure, prosperous and denuclearized Korean peninsula".
Both countries have denied the charges, but the reports have nonetheless put a spotlight on the importance of maritime trade and smuggling to the North Korean government's continued survival and weapons development. "We hope they will attend", he said of China Dec. 20, the day Freeland announced details alongside U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Ottawa.
But Mills would not say whether China had been invited to the Vancouver meeting and declined to provide a list of countries that had received invitations, saying a list of participating states "will be released in due time". "Canada has repeatedly engaged with and updated China on the Vancouver Ministerial Meeting".
China is North Korea's only major ally and economic benefactor, accounting for some 90 percent of the regime's external trade.
China and Russian Federation - despite not being invited to a conference in Canada on the North Korea crisis - must help defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
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She reminded that the UN Security Council had adopted the resolution 2397, which stipulated new restrictions against North Korea over its nuclear program, less than a month ago.
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.
"We believe that only in this format, at the negotiating table, in a calm and normal atmosphere this very complex problem can and should be solved", Zakharova said, ruling out any possibility of a military option. "This ministerial will enhance and strengthen all of the efforts underway to achieve our policy goals".
Japan has also raised concerns around the meeting, with Japanese officials suggesting too many countries are invited. However, it's thought South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will hold bilateral talks with Tillerson ahead of the Vancouver meeting.
Commenting on Tuesday's high-level talks between two countries, the spokesperson reiterated Moscow's position towards the conflict on the Korean peninsula by saying that Russian Federation is ready to assist in enhancing dialogue between South and North Korea.