South Korea offers talks on border tensions, family reunions

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 18, 2017

July 4 was a bad day for Washington's North Korea policy and not just because of Pyongyang's successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

But experts said the resumption of the event may take a bumpy road since the communist state continued in the commentary to demand South Korea repatriate 12 female North Koreans who worked at a Pyongyang-run restaurant in China and defected to Seoul en masse previous year. Since 2003 there has been a steady increase in North Korea's missile launches. Trump's appeal to China has only brought forth China leader Xi's comment that he and Trump had built a "close contact". Last year, sales of coal accounted for more than 50 percent of North Korean exports to China and about a fifth of the country's total trade. See tinyurl.com/nkorea-missiles.

While Beijing is North Korea's longtime ally in the region, the state has voiced frustration with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's aggressive behavior.

The inflow of dollars is reported to be important for the country to finance its nuclear and missile programmes, more so because of global sanctions against the Kim regime. Following the events of 9/11, United States focus was shifted primarily to the Middle East. 15 years later, however, the USA must focus once again on the North Korean problem.

One reason that Russian Federation prefers a more conciliatory policy toward Pyongyang is self-interest. "The question I would have [now], is how many people in the military are still sort of around and interested in having that relationship with North Korea".

In May, trade with North Korea gained 14.5 percent from April to $443.5 million, previously released customs data show. Though statistics are murky, there are many North Korean students in Russia, and thousands of low-skilled laborers, particularly in the Russian Far East.

Trump has sought to persuade China, North Korea's largest economic and trade partner by far, to use its leverage over its rogue neighbor to scale back its missile program - as have American governments for years.

The main reason that Russian Federation has adopted a more conciliatory stance toward North Korea, though, is that the Kremlin interprets Pyongyang's behavior very differently than does Washington or its allies. The slideshow, which begins in the video linked above at around 48 minutes and 50 seconds, contains never-before-seen images of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un inspecting a range of missile systems.

Myanmar's Directorate of Defense Industries (DDI) was one of 30 foreign entities sanctioned earlier this year for violating the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act.

North Korea's small yet gradual economic growth in recent years has also allowed Kim to focus on furthering his nuclear ambitions. But the elder Kim was willing to discuss weapons for food exchanges. In past meetings, North Korea has demanded that the South stop holding joint military exercises with the United States and end the use of loudspeakers to broadcast propaganda along the border.

North Koreans have been able to fully embrace the spirit of the country's "Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism" month by purchasing two new distinctly anti-American postage stamps. Still, Chinese purchases of North Korean iron ore are contributing to tensions between the US and China following President Trump's statement last week expressing annoyance about China-North Korea economic ties. Once nuclear-armed, North Korea can pose a real threat to not only South Korea but also Japan and the United States. In this view, the Kim dynasty's weapons programs are primarily about self-defense. But the South's then-president, Park Geun-hye, a conservative who has since been impeached and removed from office, rejected the offer, calling it insincere and demanding that the North first move toward dismantling its nuclear weapons program. "[T] heir very presence makes the price of potential foreign interference unacceptably high". The missile, dubbed Hwasong-14, has the range to potentially reach Alaska- the first serious missile North Korea has tested that could touch down on USA soil.

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