North withdraws from inter-Korean liaison office

April FrancisMar 23, 2019

The Unification Ministry statement said North Korea said it "will not mind the South remaining" in the liaison office and that it would notify the South about practical matters later.

Seoul has said the withdrawal decision is "regrettable", and said it hopes North Korea will soon return to normal operations, the Chosun Ilbo reported.

While the liaison office was one of the main agreements reached in three summits between Moon and Kim previous year, South Korean minister Chun said it was too early to say whether North Korea is renegading on the deals. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

The office was created following a thawing of tensions that resulted from one-on-one meetings past year between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, followed by a summit in June between the North Korean leader and President Trump.

The Treasury Department, which oversees USA sanctions, included the Russian vessel, the Tantal, on a new list of "vessels believed to have engaged in ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean tankers".

Both Koreas want the allow exemptions from sanctions to permit the reopening of the factory park, which provided North Korea with much-needed foreign currency.

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The decision was made without consulting the South, and comes after Pyongyang's propaganda services severely criticized South Korean government agencies for cooperating with the United States.

He underlined that China respected all United Nations resolutions on North Korea. Such a remark is a reaffirmation of another interview, during which he said the USA has strong intentions to hold dialogue with the North, only under the precondition that the regime moves first with verifiable steps for denuclearization.

Pyongyang officials said they were acting on "higher-level" instructions as they informed their South Korean counterparts of the move today.

There have also been reports of renewed activity at a North Korean nuclear test site, which have been condemned by Donald Trump.

U.S. -North Korean engagement has appeared to be in limbo since the February 27-28 summit, despite U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying on March 4 he was hopeful he could send a team to North Korea "in the next couple of weeks". Chad O'Carroll, an analyst and chief executive of the Korea Risk Group, said the move was to be expected following the failure of the Hanoi summit.

The Treasury statement said Dalian Haibo was targeted for dealings with Paeksol Trading Corp, a company previously designated by United States sanctions on North Korea.

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