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

By Simon Lewis

The US is considering adopting sanctions against Chinese firms for the nation's failure to take a harder stance on North Korea, reports ABC news.

North Korea's state-run daily Rodong Sinmun on Saturday published an article branding the South Korean president's offer of cross-border rapprochement as misleading.

USA officials have also warned that China could face US trade and economic pressure - something Trump has held in abeyance since taking office in January - unless it does more to restrain its neighbor. "We must utilize direct negotiations with Pyongyang alongside increased economic sanctions pressure from China to bring the Kim regime to the table and ultimately rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons".

The South Korean government under liberal President Moon Jae-in has stressed the need to reopen dialogue with the communist neighbor while also keeping sanctions in place.

South Korea on Monday offered to hold rare military talks with North Korea on Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the US Justice Department had already initiated a federal court case that was partly unsealed last week, targeting "offshore US dollar accounts" associated with a network of five companies linked to the Chinese citizen Chi Yupeng.

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. The last reunions were held in October 2015 at a resort at Mount Kumgang on North Korea's east coast. An online article in the official People's Daily this week accused the U.S. and Japan of using the "China responsibility theory" to hide their own failure on the Korean Peninsula. United States ambassador Haley told the UN Security Council the USA was prepared to "use the full range of our capabilities", including "our considerable military forces" to deal with North Korea.

"There is no military solution to the threat of a nuclear North Korea", said Markey who is the ranking Democrat on the East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Subcommittee.

The US is in the process of completing a THAAD battery deployment in South Korea, supposedly aimed against North Korea.

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