North Korea withdraws from inter-Korea liaison office

North Korea withdraws from inter-Korea liaison office

North Korea withdraws from inter-Korea liaison office

President Moon's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong convened an emergency meeting of the South Korean national security council after the North announced its decision to pull out from Kaesong.

North Korean staff members at the office withdrew early Friday on "instructions from the superior authority", according to South Korea's Unification Ministry later in the day.

There were no new US sanctions on North Korea announced on Friday but on Thursday the United States blacklisted two Chinese shipping companies that it said helped North Korea evade sanctions over its nuclear weapons program.

It was not clear whether North Korea's withdrawal of staff would be temporary or permanent. Chad O'Carroll, an analyst and chief executive of the Korea Risk Group, said the move was to be expected following the failure of the Hanoi summit.

One of those deceptive practices involves covert ship-to-ship transfers, in which North Korean ships link up with foreign vessels at sea and trade banned coal and metal for prohibited goods.

They added that Pyongyang "will not mind the South remaining in the office", according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.

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The office was opened in September as the two Koreas knitted closer ties. The decision to withdraw comes weeks after a nuclear summit between Kim and President Donald Trump broke down over sanctions squeezing North Korea's struggling economy. Last month, the second U.S. The Koreas had previously used telephone and fax-like communication channels that were often shut down in times of high tension.

The liaison office is the first since the peninsula was split into a USA -backed capitalistic South and a Soviet-supported socialist North in 1945.

Kaesong is also the location of a now-shuttered factory complex that was jointly run by the two Koreas.

The latest sanctions showed there was some "leakage" in North Korea sanctions enforcement by China, but it was mostly abiding by United Nations resolutions, a senior USA official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

While the liaison office was one of the main agreements reached in three summits between Moon and Kim a year ago, Chun said it's too early to say whether North Korea is renegading on the deals.

On Monday, two senior USA senators called for the Trump administration to correct a slowing pace of American sanctions designations on North Korea, saying such actions had seen a marked decline in the past year of US diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang. Some of these ports are located in Taiwan, South Korea, and Russian Federation.

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