South probes North Korean coal shipments

Andrew Cummings
July 22, 2018

According to observers, this marks a shift in tone from Trump who previously said nuclear disarmament would start "very quickly". "Discussions are ongoing, and they're going very, very well", the United States president told reporters.

Pyongyang has consistently accused the South of abducting the women, who had been stationed at one of the North's overseas posts in China.

China, its biggest trading partner, suspended coal purchases previous year which cut North Korea's main export revenue source while its suspended fuel sales into to country sparked a surge in gasoline and diesel prices, data reviewed by Reuters showed earlier.

"We were also thinking about providing reciprocal measures", an unnamed spokesperson of North Korea's foreign ministry said at the time in a statement published by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Prices for food staples like rice and corn have remained stable under changing sanctions, and there are signs that a growing number of North Koreans have access to electronic appliances, often powered by solar panels, according to data gathered by the DailyNK website. But the relationships are very good.

An article in the state-run online outlet Meari also said that unless the issue of the restaurant workers is resolved soon, it could hinder planned family reunifications.

The women's arrival happened when South Korea was governed by a conservative government, which took a tough stance on the North's nuclear program.

If confirmed, this year's meeting is expected to serve as a platform for Kim to unveil his plans surrounding North Korea's "new diplomacy", as Pyongyang is working toward breaking out of its diplomatic isolation. And that is why Seoul and Pyongyang have chose to first begin with joint field inspections for now, because bringing South Korean resources and equipment into North Korea for constructions may violate worldwide sanctions.

North Korea's global relationships have been tense in recent years amid extensive missile and other weapons testing.

Since the end of the Korean War, both Koreas have banned ordinary citizens from visiting relatives on the other side of the border or contacting them without permission.

Asked about the possibility that a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War could be declared during the United Nations gathering, Kang said that South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim had chose to issue such a declaration within this year.

The job for the USA now, he said, is "to get the entire country to understand that they have that strategically wrong".

But Pompeo has cautioned that there are dangers in making what he believes are the same mistakes of past administrations - namely, providing any relief from sanctions until North Korea completely gives up its nuclear weapons.

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