South Korea offers talks on tensions and family reunions with North

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 17, 2017

Customs administration spokesman Huang Songping said exports to the hermit nation rose 29.1 percent in the first six months of the year, although imports were down 13.2 per cent.

But coal imports slumped by 75%, suggesting Beijing is gradually choking off North Korea's biggest source of foreign currency.

According to Fox News, the Data Base Centre for North Korean Human Rights, which is based in Seoul, has reported that about 50,000 North Koreans have been sent to Russian Federation in order to make money for the regime in Pyongyang.

China has always been the North's main diplomatic defender but increasingly expresses frustration with leader Kim Jong Un's provocative behavior.

South Korea on Monday offered to hold military discussions with North Korea for the first time in almost three years in an effort to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.

China has repeatedly said it is fully enforcing United Nations sanctions on nuclear-armed North Korea and there is nothing wrong with what it terms "normal" trade with Pyongyang, referring to areas not covered by sanctions. Pyongyang has also conducted five nuclear tests, in violation of worldwide sanctions. Huang told reporters on Thursday that the rise in trade was mainly due to an increase in textile exports. "As neighbours, China and North Korea maintain normal business and trade exchanges", he said, adding that goods for ordinary people and those used for humanitarian reasons are not subject to sanctions.

"If Trump were to give up on Chinese support in terms of containing North Korea, then there's a risk of increased trade tensions between the USA and China, which could negatively impact China's overall export performance", said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

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