A Chinese government official said Thursday that China-North Korea trade was worth $2.6 billion in the first half of 2017, up about 10% over the same period past year. While China's imports from North Korea dropped 13.2 percent to $880m in the period from January to June, exports to North Korea rose 29.1 percent to $1.67bn, he said. Iron ore is among China's biggest imports from the North after it stopped buying coal this year due to the sanctions.
China's Customs Administration announced Thursday that trade with the worldwide pariah North grew 10.5 percent to $2.5 billion between January and June, with exports soaring to 29.1 percent during that period. They had risen by 18% in the quarter ended March.
China suspended imports of North Korean coal in February, while imports of iron ore accord with relevant United Nations resolutions, he said.
China has always been the North's main diplomatic defender but increasingly expresses frustration with leader Kim Jong Un's provocative behavior.
If held, it would be the first such meeting between military authorities of the two sides since a working-level meeting that failed to produce an agreement on October 15, 2014, at Panmunjom, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The overall rise in trade has been driven by China's exports to North Korea, which were up by almost 30% in the first half of the year.
"The sanctions imposed by the [United Nations] are not a comprehensive embargo", he said. "Trade related to DPRK people's livelihood, especially those that reflect humanitarianism should not be influenced by the sanctions".
Mr Moon also said the two Koreas must halt hostile activities along the border, restart family reunions and cooperate on the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.