SEOUL, August 17, 2018 (MENA) - South and North Korea have agreed to hold a summit meeting between their leaders in Pyongyang in September, Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.
The agreement has been made during high-level talks on the northern side of Panmunjom that separates the two Koreas. They, however, did not unveil the date of the meeting.
"We agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit within September in Pyongyang," the two Koreas said in a joint press statement issued after the meeting.
North Korea's chief delegate, Ri Son-gwon, hinted after the meeting that the two sides agreed on a date but decided not to announce it, only to emphasize that the summit will take place "within September."
SEOUL, August 17, 2018 (MENA) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un harshly criticized international sanctions on the North during his visit to a tourist complex under construction on the North's eastern coast, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Kim, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju and ranking government and party officials, inspected the construction site of the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area.
In a meeting with construction workers there, Kim expressed discontent with international sanctions, accusing "hostile forces" of attempting to stifle the North's people through "brigandish" sanctions and blockade.
Following the North-US summit talks in Singapore on June 12, Pyongyang's official and propaganda media outlets have steadily displayed strong dissatisfaction with Washington-led international sanctions and have pressed South Korea not to blindly follow them.
WASHINGTON, August 16, 2018 (News Wires) - The United States imposed sanctions on a Russian port service agency and Chinese firms on Wednesday for aiding North Korean ships and selling alcohol and tobacco to North Korea in breach of US sanctions aimed at pressuring it to end its nuclear programmes.
The US Treasury said in a statement China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co. Ltd and its Singapore-based affiliate SINSMS Pte. Ltd had netted more than $1 billion a year by exporting alcohol and cigarette products to North Korea.
The department also sanctioned Russian-based Profinet Pte Ltd and its director general, Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, for providing port services on at least six occasions to North Korean-flagged ships.
Kolchanov was personally involved in North Korea-related deals and interacted directly with North Korean representatives in Russia, the department said.
"The tactics that these entities based in China, Singapore, and Russia are using to attempt to evade sanctions are prohibited under US law, and all facets of the shipping industry have a responsibility to abide by them or expose themselves to serious risks," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The sanctions mandate that no US citizen can deal with any of those designated in the order, and any of their properties in the United States "must be blocked", Treasury said.
The United States has been pressuring North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons programme.
Liang Ye, legal representative of Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading, said when asked for comment on the US Treasury statement the matter was still unclear and the Chinese company had not received any notice.
China's official Xinhua news agency said the United States needed to back off with the pressure on North Korea if it was serious about wanting lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.
"Washington should be reminded that the 'maximum pressure' approach on Pyongyang is not in keeping with the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and it needs to consider easing sanctions," Xinhua said in a commentary.
SEOUL, August 13, 2018 (Reuters) - North and South Korea agreed on Monday to hold a summit in the North in September, another step towards boosting co-operation between the old rivals, even as doubts grow over efforts to end the North’s nuclear weapons programme.
Officials from both sides meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, reached an agreement on a September summit between the countries' leaders in the North’s capital of Pyongyang.
No date was announced for what will be the third meeting this year between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
They first met in April in Panmunjom, a remarkable thaw in ties after more than a year of rising tension and fears of war over the North’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
There they agreed that Moon would visit the North’s capital in the autumn, though the pair met again in May in an unannounced meeting at Panmunjom.
No details on an agenda for next month’s talks were announced, but the two Koreas have been discussing a range of issues, from a possible peace declaration to joint economic and infrastructure projects.
The progress between the two Koreas comes as North Korea and the United States are struggling to agree on how to bring about the North’s denuclearisation, after Kim vowed to work towards that goal at a landmark summit in June in Singapore with US President Donald Trump.
US officials have told Reuters that North Korea had yet to agree to a timeline for eliminating its nuclear arsenal or to disclose its size, which US estimates have put at between 30 and 60 warheads.
After Monday’s talks, Ri Son Gwon, the chairman of a North Korean committee aiming for the “peaceful reunification” of the peninsula, told reporters it was important to clear “obstacles” preventing inter-Korean relations from moving forwards.
“If the issues that were raised at the talks aren’t resolved, unexpected problems could emerge and the issues that are already on the schedule may face difficulties,” Ri said, without giving details.
SEOUL, August 11, 2018 (MENA) - South Korea's Defense Minister Song Young-moo has held talks with his Indian counterpart, Nirmala Sitharaman, to discuss ways to expand bilateral ties and collaboration for North Korea's denuclearization, Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday.
During the talks, which took place in India on Friday, they agreed to promptly hold the 2+2 dialogue involving the two countries' foreign and defense ministries, according to the Ministry of Defense.
Song called for cooperation and support from the international community, including India, to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
The Indian defense minister said in response she shares the need for close ties between the two countries.
SEOUL, South Korea , August 10, 2018 (News Wires) - The rival Koreas plan to hold high-level talks on Monday to prepare for a third summit between their leaders, as Pyongyang called on the United States to reciprocate its "goodwill measures" by easing sanctions and stopping demands that the North denuclearize first.
The plans by the Korean leaders to meet come as Washington and Pyongyang try to follow through on nuclear disarmament vows made at a US-North Korea summit in June between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In the most recent sign of growing frustration between Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea criticized senior American officials for insisting that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons first before easing sanctions. Notably, the statement didn't directly criticize Trump.
North Korea said in a statement Thursday that "some high-level officials within the US administration" were making "desperate attempts at intensifying the international sanctions and pressure."
"We hoped that these goodwill measures would contribute to breaking down the high barrier of mistrust" between Pyongyang and Washington, the North's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. "However, the US responded to our expectation by inciting international sanctions and pressure."
Those American officials are "going against the intention of President Trump to advance the DPRK-US relations, who is expressing gratitude to our goodwill measures for implementing the DPRK-US joint statement," it said referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Washington has said that sanctions will not be lifted until Pyongyang fully and finally dismantles its nuclear weapons. Some experts say that North Korea does not want to denuclearize first or maybe denuclearize at all because it wants a long, drawn-out process that sees external aid shipped in in return for abandoning nuclear weapons.
Pyongyang has also stepped up its calls for a formal end to the Korean War, which some analysts believe is meant to be the first step in the North's effort to eventually see all 28,500 US troops leave the Korean Peninsula.
A South Korean official at the Unification Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules, said the two Koreas will also discuss on Monday ways to push through tension-reducing agreements made during an earlier summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Among the agreements was holding another inter-Korean summit in the fall in Pyongyang.