Seoul Seeks New Talks With North Korea, Hoping To Tamp Down Tensions

Hong Kong v North Korea- AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers

Hong Kong v North Korea- AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers- Hong Kong China – 13/6/17- A fan carries a North Korean flag. REUTERS Bobby Yip FilesMore

Tensions rose after North Korea's test this month of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the USA mainland.

South Korea on Monday proposed military talks with North Korea, the first formal overture to Pyongyang by the government of President Moon Jae-in, and said the two sides should discuss ways to avoid hostile acts near the heavily militarised border.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is sending tens of thousands of North Koreans to Russian Federation in order to carry out what is being described as slave-like labor and earn money for his regime in Pyongyang, according to Fox News.

With North Korea pushing to expand its nuclear and missile arsenals, relations between the two Koreas are at one of their lowest points in decades.

The United States has been trying to get China and Russian Federation to back a new UN Security Council resolution imposing stiffer sanctions on North Korea following its latest missile test.

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-South Korea on Monday offered talks with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s.

"UN Security Council sanctions are not a total ban on shipments".

North Korea gets most of its fuel from China, with some coming from Russian Federation.

At the same time, iron ore imports have surged between January and May to $74.4 million compared to $24 million over the same period past year.

Chinese imports of North Korean coal in the first half fell 75 percent to 2.7 million tons from a year earlier following the suspension in February, according to Huang Songping, a Customs agency spokesman.

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Trump has complained that trade increased between the two despite calling on his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to use the nation's unique diplomatic and economic clout over North Korea as leverage. "So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!" The December 2015 talks at a now-stalled joint factory park in North Korea ended with no breakthroughs. Trump tweeted on July 5.

The Asahi Shimbun reported in May Chinese President Xi Jinping asked for a 100-day "grace period" on North Korea following his first summit with President Trump.

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.

"We're going to push hard against China because 90 percent of the trade that happens with North Korea is from China, and so while they have been helpful, they need to do more", she told CBS television.

But analysts say North Korea may accept the defense talks because it wants the South Korean Army to halt loudspeaker broadcasts at the border that began after North Korea's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

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