Japan says this is a time to raise pressure on North Korea

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 18, 2017

The South is pushing for another round of reunions between elderly people who were separated after the 1950-53 Korean War. The ministry requested Pyongyang respond to its offer through the newly-restored western border military hotline.

"North Korea should respond to our honest proposals if it really seeks peace on the Korean peninsula", Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea's minister for unification, said.

The bipartisan legislation on North Korea introduced last week in Washington may be treading new territory with sanctions against at least one Chinese garment company suspected of hiring North Korean forced laborers.

North Korea's decision to shun all channels of dialogue came after Seoul closed down the jointly-run Kaesong Industrial Complex in response to Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test in January 2016 and a subsequent long-range ballistic missile launch. The December 2015 talks at a now-stalled joint factory park in North Korea ended with no breakthroughs. In all, the North has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests.

The South Korean Red Cross suggested talks be held on August 1, with possible reunions over the Korean thanksgiving Chuseok holiday, which falls in October this year.

"South Korean authorities should not persistently depend on outsiders...but opt for improving the North-South relations and achieving independent reunification by pooling efforts with the compatriots in the North". South Korea usually refers to loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts by both sides, while the North wants a halt to routine joint U.S. But he still has not backed off from his outreach to North Korea, arguing during a recent speech that both Koreas must stop hostile activities along the border and resume family reunions. Since no truce was agreed, the two sides remain technically at war. Two days after, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the United States was prepared to use the full range of capabilities, including military options, to defend the country and its allies against North Korea.

In an act to rein in the North, the United States is preparing new sanctions on Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang possibly within weeks, two senior USA officials said last week. A senior official with the Ministry of National Defense said it was "continuing to hold discussions on inter-Korean military talks with the Ministry of Unification and other agencies involved in practical matters".

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