China protests US sanctions on shipping firms

China protests US sanctions on shipping firms

North Korea has withdrawn from the inter-Korean liaison office opened a year ago to encourage talks with the South.

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.

North Korea has pulled out of a recently established liaison office with South Korea, in the latest sign that diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang is collapsing following the failed summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.


In its communication with the South, Pyongyang said it would not mind Seoul's representatives "remaining in the office", which is based in Kaesong, a part of North Korea near the de facto border between the two countries. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

China considers the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on two of its companies for allegedly violating North Korea sanctions unlawful and a step in the wrong direction in terms of Beijing-Washington cooperation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Friday.

North Korea abruptly withdrew its staff from a liaison office with South Korea on Friday, a development that is likely to put a damper on ties between the countries and further complicate global diplomacy on North Korea's nuclear program. Both Koreas want the U.S.to allow sanctions exemptions to allow the reopening of the factory park, which provided the North with much-needed foreign currency.


The North Korean action came a week after its vice foreign minister threatened to pull out of nuclear negotiations with the United States, citing a lack of USA steps to match disarmament measures it took previous year. It was unclear if the withdrawal was temporary or not. Trump's proclamations have often caught agency officials by surprise, leaving them scrambling to figure out what he's directing and to implement his directives.

It also cited 67 vessels for engaging in illicit transfers of refined petroleum with North Korean tankers or facilitating the export of the North's coal. "North Korea can influence the USA by either doing nothing - or by launching a missile".

The North notified the South that it was withdrawing its officials under "instructions from higher authorities", according to a message sent to foreign reporters on Friday afternoon. Last July, the Netherlands seized a cargo of Belarusian vodka, also banned as luxury goods, en route to North Korea via the company, it said.


The Treasury statement said Dalian Haibo was targeted for dealings with Paeksol Trading Corp, a company previously designated by U.S. sanctions on North Korea.

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