North Korea on Friday pulled out of a liaison office with the South, in a major setback for Seoul, just hours after the United States imposed the first new sanctions on the North since the second U.S.
The United States has led worldwide efforts to press North Korea through sanctions to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. It didn't say whether the withdrawal would be temporary or permanent.
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South Korean Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung leaves after a press conference at the Unification Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 22, 2019. Speaking with Fox Business Network on Tuesday, he explained that President Trump has said he would be very, very disappointed if the North resumes testing.
He added that the move was created to send a message that from Pyongyang's perspective "Seoul has insufficient influence" over the US-North Korea relationship and that intra-Korean talks are increasingly pointless, "when sanctions prevent practical cooperation". It represents another expression of North Korean displeasure following the collapse of the Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi last...
South Korea's Unification Ministry announced the move Friday, saying the decision had been taken by the North on "instructions from the superior authority".
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The office was opened in September as the two Koreas knitted closer ties. That appears unlikely as South Korea is beholden to global sanctions - which North Korea, during last month's North Korea-US summit in Hanoi - asked be lifted. "North Korea can influence the U.S. by either doing nothing - or by launching a missile". Kaesong is also the site of a joint industrial complex both Korean governments have expressed interest in restarting.
That process encompassed such high-profile events and activities as North Korea's attendance at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, K-pop concerts in Pyongyang, cross-border military agreement, discussion and ceremonies on the re-establishment of cross-border rail links and the three leaders' summits.
The foreign ministry urged the U.S.to stop the sanctions, and said China doesn't want the move to affect cooperation between the two countries.
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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.