North withdraws from inter-Korean liaison office

North withdraws from inter-Korean liaison office

The statement said Liaoning Danxing had "routinely used deceptive practices" to enable the work of North Korean procurement officials based in the European Union.

Chun said the Moon administration does not view North Korean withdrawal from Kaesong as a "violation" of the agreements between President Moon and Kim Jong-un that established the office in September.

After Reuters' report about the Tantal's ship-to-ship transfers in February, Russia's ambassador to Pyongyang was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying any Russian fuel deliveries to North Korea were legal and mainly by rail.

The South Korean Unification ministry said it was contacted on Friday morning and informed that the North's staff would be leaving later in the day.

The inter-Korean liaison office in Gaeseong, North Korea.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said on Friday that its northern neighbor was "pulling out with instruction from the superior authority".

The Treasury Department, which oversees US sanctions, included the Russian vessel, the Tantal, on a new list of "vessels believed to have engaged in ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean tankers".

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South Korea regrets the decision and urged a swift normalisation of the arrangement, Chun said, adding the South would continue to staff the office, set up as a regular channel of communication to ease hostility between the rivals, which technically remain at war.

North Korea's decision to pull out of the liaison office, a symbol of improved relations following the April 2018 inter-Korean summit at Panmunjom, could deliver a critical blow to North-South ties following the breakdown of talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

The liaison office is the first since the peninsula was split into a USA -backed capitalistic South and a Soviet-supported socialist North in 1945.

It combined South Korean capital and technology with cheap North Korean labor. Kaesong is also the site of a joint industrial complex both Korean governments have expressed interest in restarting.

Following the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, the USA and South Korea canceled major war games that have always been a source of tensions on the Korean Peninsula in order to "support diplomatic efforts" with Pyongyang.

'We want to monitor the situation for a bit longer and respond to the developments, instead of making predictions or premature judgments'.

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

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