South Korea offers dialogue with the North to ease border tensions

Posted July 18, 2017

The proposed talks - which would be held Friday in the border town of Panmunjom, if accepted - would be the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides since 2015. South Korean acting Red Cross chief Kim Sun Hyang told a news conference that it wants separate talks at the border village on August 1 to discuss family reunions.

The targeting of clothes or textile manufacturers may be outside current parameters of USA sanctions, but according to Kim Han-kwon, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in South Korea, the move may be a response to North Korea's changing approach to earning foreign currency for the regime as Chinese restrictions have banned exports like coal, News 1 reported.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., stated last Thursday the North Korean Enablers Accountability Act, would "ban any entity that does business with North Korea or its enablers...and to impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating on North Korean labor trafficking abuses".

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According to Fox News, the Data Base Centre for North Korean Human Rights, which is based in Seoul, has reported that about 50,000 North Koreans have been sent to Russian Federation in order to make money for the regime in Pyongyang. It is the first such offer under South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who signaled his willingness to talk with Pyongyang during his campaign earlier this year. It was the Moon government's first formal proposal for talks with North Korea since its May 10 inauguration.

Maruyama said "we are considering" tougher United Nations sanctions.

Moon's government proposed two sets of talks to discuss how to dial down tensions and resume reunions of aging Koreans separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

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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.

Outside experts believe the South Korean broadcasts and leaflets sting in Pyongyang more because the authoritarian country worries that the broadcasts will demoralize front-line troops and residents and eventually weaken the grip of absolute leader Kim Jong Un.

The South Korean defence ministry proposed talks with the North on 21 July at Tongilgak to stop all activities that fuel tension at the military demarcation line. Prospects for talks on family reunions are less good because North Korea has previously demanded that South Korea repatriate some North Korean defectors living in the South before any reunions take place, according to the analysts. North Korea is seen as worrying that doing so could open the country to influence from more affluent South Korea and threaten the ruling party's grip on power.

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