North Korea Trade with China Rises Despite Sanctions

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 18, 2017

But Moon's overture, the first formal offer of talks since his inauguration in May, indicates he wants to use dialogue to defuse the worldwide standoff over North Korea's weapons programs, despite having condemned the North's first intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 4 and vowed a firm response.

"We request military talks with the North on July 21 at Tongilgak to stop all hostile activities that raise military tension at the military demarcation line", South Korea's Vice Defence Minister Suh Choo-suk told a media briefing.

The proposed talks - which would be held Friday in the border town of Panmunjom, if accepted - would be the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides since 2015. Mr Moon's predecessor Park Geun Hye had refused to engage in substantive dialogue with Pyongyang unless it made a firm commitment to denuclearisation.

"We make the proposal for a meeting. aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border", the country's defense ministry said in a statement, according to the Agence France-Presse news service. If realised, they would be the first for two years, said AFP.

The Rodong Sinmun editorial said the "first step" the two Koreas need to take is to resolve the political and military standoff.

The South Korean defense ministry did not clarify what would be on the agenda or what officials would be in attendance at the meeting, "apparently for some flexibility", the news agency Yonhap reports.

"Trade related to the people's livelihood in North Korea, especially if it embodies humanitarian principles, should not be affected by sanctions", said Huang at a separate news briefing.

Frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea, the Trump administration could impose new sanctions on small Chinese banks and other firms doing business with Pyongyang within weeks, two senior US officials said. But Chinese leaders are reluctant to push Pyongyang too hard for fear Kim's government might collapse. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.

Citing the draft White Paper, to be finalised early next month, the Nikkei said the Japanese government has concluded that Pyongyang's ballistic missile programme has achieved four attributes: Longer ranges, more varied launch methods, a more sophisticated so-called saturation attack and continued secrecy.

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