Published: Sat, March 23, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

North Korea abruptly withdraws staff from liaison office

North Korea abruptly withdraws staff from liaison office

Even so, the ministry said it "regrets the decision of the North to pull out of the liaison office, and urges the North to return soon" in a message sent to foreign reporters.

Given that US President Donald Trump has repeatedly lauded North Korea's ongoing missile and nuclear test moratorium, Go suggested that the Pyongyang regime was loath to fire off a missile, which could cross a significant red line for the mercurial US president, with whom North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have a mutually respectful relationship.

North Korea told South Korea Friday it will stop participating in the joint liaison office in the North Korean border city of Gaeseong, South Korea's Unification Ministry said. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. -North Korea summit in Vietnam collapsed due to disputes over USA -led sanctions on the nuclear-armed North.

The Treasury Department, which oversees US 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".

Washington announced the measures three weeks after a second meeting between Trump and Kim broke down over conflicting demands by North Korea for relief from sanctions and from the United States side for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. It was unclear if the withdrawal was temporary or not.

The North Korean action came a week after its vice foreign minister threatened to pull out of nuclear negotiations with the United States, citing a lack of USA steps to match disarmament measures it took past year.

The Treasury Department, in coordination with the State Department and the U.S. Coast Guard, also updated a North Korea shipping advisory, adding dozens of vessels thought to be doing ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean tankers or exported North Korean coal in violation of sanctions. Last July, the Netherlands seized a cargo of Belarusian vodka, also banned as luxury goods, en route to North Korea via the company, it said.

The official insisted, however, that Thursday's announcement was meant to maintain sanctions enforcement on North Korea rather than intensify the pressure. "We want to monitor the situation for a bit longer and respond to the developments, instead of making predictions or premature judgments".

Friday's North Korean action follows reports Wednesday that the US State Department was offering US$6 million for projects aimed at upgrading human rights in North Korea.

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

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