USA announces first new North Korea sanctions since failed summit

Seoul sought to keep the door open to more contact

North Korean state media have recently demanded that South Korea distance itself from the US and resume joint economic projects that have been held back by the USA -led sanctions against the North.

North Korea has pulled out its staff from an inter-Korean liaison office, according to the South Korean officials, weeks after leader Kim Jong Un's summit with US President Donald Trump ended without agreement.

The Joint Liaison Office was established after Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met at the DMZ for a summit past year, which was followed by a historic meeting between Trump and Kim in Singapore.

North Korean officials walked out of a high-profile inter-Korean liaison office on Friday in the latest sign of Pyongyang anger in the aftermath of the failed North Korea-United States summit in Hanoi last month.

South Korea's Unification Ministry announced the move Friday, saying the decision had been taken by the North on "instructions from the superior authority".

The ministry added other communication channels are still open. It didn't say whether the withdrawal would be temporary or permanent.

The Gaeseong factory complex, which was supposed to be a model of economic cooperation for a unified Korea, closed about three years ago.

It was not clear whether North Korea's move would be permanent
It was not clear whether North Korea's move would be permanent

"The North sees its nuclear issue and ties with the United States as a matter of greater strategic importance, so when they try to assert its position, they sacrifice the ties with the South, which is considered inferior", said Shin Beom-chul of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

On Thursday the companies were banned from accessing the USA financial system, and any companies who do business with them can now face penalties.

Two senior administration officials, who briefed reporters only on condition of anonymity to discuss US policy on North Korea, said illegal ship-to-ship transfers that violate USA and worldwide sanctions have increased and not all countries, including China, are implementing the restrictions. Speaking with Fox Business Network on Tuesday, he explained that President Trump has said he would be very, very disappointed if the North resumes testing.

The withdrawal is a major setback for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has sought improved relations with North Korea alongside the nuclear negotiations between the North and the United States.

WATCH | North Korea vs.

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

North Korean state media have recently demanded that South Korea distance itself from the USA and resume joint economic projects that have been held back by the US -led sanctions against the North.

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