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North Korea fuel prices surge after China cuts oil supplies

North Korea fuel prices surge after China cuts oil supplies

South Korea offered North Korea to hold talks on the settlement of the ongoing disputes at a level of defense ministers of both countries in the border village of Panmunjom on July 21, Yonhap news agency reported earlier on Monday.

President Moon Jae-in's overture Monday clearly showed again that he prefers diplomacy over pressure or economic sanctions to try to improve ties between the two Koreas and persuade the North to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Suh Choo-suk, South Korea's vice defense minister, said in a statement that the military talks would be aimed at ceasing all "acts of hostility" near the border line, but did not specify any agenda items nor mention who from South Korea would take part.

Seoul's Red Cross says it wants separate talks at the border village on August 1 to discuss family reunions.

South Korea on Monday offered to hold military discussions with North Korea for the first time in almost three years in an effort to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.

"I ask the North to answer to our proposal by restoring the now disconnected military hotline near the West Sea", he said at a news conference.

He singled out a group of 12 who fled while working at a North Korean restaurant in China previous year, and Kim Ryon-hui, a defector who requested to go back to her homeland in 2015.

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If the government meeting goes ahead, it will be the first official inter-Korea talks since December 2015. Noting that Chuseok, one of Korea's biggest holidays, falls on October 4 this year, the president said that since the two anniversaries overlap, it would be meaningful to hold family reunions on that day as a first step in addressing this humanitarian issue.

Foreign Office sources said Mr Johnson had succeeded in "getting tough language" in the formal agreement at the meeting with his European Union counterparts after warning they must not be divided in their response.

Japan's government spokesman says this is a moment to raise pressure on North Korea - not a time for dialogue.

The latest missile test - which Kim described as a "gift" to the Americans - was seen as a milestone in Pyongyang's quest to build a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that can hit the United States mainland.

The two Koreas restarted Cold War-era psychological warfare after the North's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

"Once that is established, then both sides can understand what the other is seeking". About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.

Numerous estimated 60,000 South Koreans that have signed up to participate in these sporadically held inter-Korean reunions are elderly and have had virtually no contact with relatives living in the repressive North where contact with the outside world is highly restricted.


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