As Exports Grow, China Defends Trade With Sanctions-Hit North Korea

Chinese trade with North Korea jumped 10.5% in the first half of this year, according to China Customs

Chinese trade with North Korea jumped 10.5% in the first half of this year, according to China Customs

Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk told a briefing that South Korea proposed a meeting last Friday at the border village of Panmunjom, with the aim of suspending "all hostility against each other that escalates tensions at the military demarcation line".

Even though South Korea has continued to participate in USA -led military drills, a recent statement from Moon Chung-in, a major adviser to the South Korean presidential administration, calling for downsized military exercises has captured the attention of Russian policymakers. Like Beijing, Moscow has no interest in seeing the North Korean government replaced by a unified Korea allied with the United States. "We must take every diplomatic and economic measure now to stop North Korea and to prevent nuclear war".

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), a state-controlled company, halted diesel and petrol sales to the reclusive state "over the last month or two", according to Reuters. President Trump and his top aides have signaled growing frustration at China's perceived inability to leverage its considerable influence over North Korea, to curb the regime's nuclear and missile ambitions.

Reuters analyzed data at the North Korean defector website Daily NK and found the price of gasoline sold by private dealers in Pyongyang and the northern border cities of Sinuiju and Hyesan jumped to $2.18 per kg ($2.92 per liter) as of July 5, up 50 percent from $1.46 per kg on June 21.

This year, the American State Department announced: 'Credible reports of slave-like conditions of North Koreans working in Russian Federation'.

China has seriously carried out United Nations sanctions on North Korea, said Huang.

Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to Washington, said on Monday that secondary sanctions were "not acceptable". Two senior US officials were also quoted as saying last week, the USA was preparing new sanctions on Chinese banks and shell companies, that could be implemented "within weeks".

Scrutiny of China's commercial ties with its isolated neighbor intensified further following North Korea's first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile two weeks ago.

Najib reiterates demand for justice for victims of MH17 incident
On this day in the Netherlands will open the memorial to the victims of flight MH17. Each of the names were read aloud during the memorial.

About 120 South Korean companies paid about double the $70 a month minimum wage in North Korea for each of the 55,000 workers hired in Kaesong. This individual used to go by the name of Im Ji Hyun back in South Korea and was a celebrity, starring on a show called 'South and North Korean Women' (clip below).

Until recently, however, China had limited its sanctions to materials and individuals connected with the production of North Korean nuclear weapons - and resisted wider sanctions.

Last month, the European Union expanded its sanctions blacklist after North Korea launched a volley of surface-to-ship cruise missiles off its east coast.

The dictator has anxious observers following recent tests of Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM).

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

When asked if South Korea was willing to "be flexible" on military drills with the United States should North Korea be open to talks, Mr Cho said the government had not discussed the matter specifically.

The Red Cross said it hoped for "a positive response" from its counterpart in the North, hoping to hold family reunions in early October.

North Korea says the South abducted the 12 waitresses and the restaurant manager and has demanded their return, but the South has said the group chose to defect of its own free will. Cho said this matter is not included on the talks agenda.

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