South Korea proposes military talks to North Korea

18 July, 2017, 04:01 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • By Heekyong Yang

Beijing has repeatedly proposed negotiations on the basis that North Korea freezes its nuclear and missile tests in return for the US and South Korea halting their large-scale joint military exercises.

The U.S. measures would initially hit Chinese entities considered "low-hanging fruit", including smaller financial institutions and "shell" companies linked to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, said one of the officials, while declining to name the targets. "The proposed restrictions imply the introduction of an embargo on energy supplies to Pyongyang and a ban on employing North Korean nationals overseas", the source stated.

The decline follows China's decision in February to ban all imports of North Korean coal.

The offer came amid renewed tensions over the North's first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4.

In response to North Korea's latest missile test, the US and South Korea conducted live-fire bombing exercises along the DMZ, making one wonder who's really provoking whom?

Such purchases are permitted under the sanctions and generate no revenue for nuclear development, said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.

Trump has urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to use China's economic leverage over North Korea but, after suggesting that Beijing was not acting to punish Pyongyang, Trump last week suggested he'd given up on Xi.

Beijing agreed in March 2016 to enforce United Nations sanctions following North Korea's test of a missile possibly capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

North Korea bought $1.67 billion worth of Chinese products in the first six months of the year, which helped push total trade between the two countries up 10 percent between January and June.

"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.

In the latest show of military force, the US Missile Defence Agency announced a successful test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system.

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