Trump administration officials applauded China on Friday for cutting down its trade with North Korea in 2017, when President Trump pressured Chinese President Xi Jinping repeatedly to end its trade relationship with North Korea in an effort to pressure the country into denuclearizing.

"The Donald J. Trump Administration is pleased that China is sharply reducing its trade with North Korea," the White House said in a statement. "This action supports the United States-led global effort to apply maximum pressure until the North Korean regime ends its illicit programs, changes its behavior, and moves toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

Trade between China and North Korea fell by more than 10 percent between 2016 and 2017, CNBC reported on Friday.

Trump's strategy toward North Korea has focused heavily on pushing China to sever ties with the Kim Jong Un regime.

The president has said he is open to pursuing talks between the U.S. and North Korea, although he has not specified what preconditions would be necessary to begin such a dialogue.