Fuel prices in North Korea surge after China cuts oil sales

18 July, 2017, 06:02 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Fuel prices in North Korea surge after China cuts oil sales

Experts say an extended cut by China would threaten critical supplies of gasoline and diesel and force North Korea to find alternative sources of refined fuel products.

South Korea on Monday offered talks with North Korea to ease animosities along their tense border and resume reunions of families separated by their war in the 1950s.

South Korea's Vice Defence Minister Suh Choo-suk told a media briefing that talks could be held at Tongilgak, a North Korean building in the Panmunjom compound in the demilitarised zone between the two countries, which was used to host previous talks.

They would also come roughly two weeks after North Korea conducted its latest missile test this year, launching an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan. "The last such reunions were almost two years ago".

The United States has been trying to get China and Russian Federation to back a new U.N. Security Council resolution imposing stiffer sanctions on North Korea following its latest missile test. Ties between the Koreas have plunged over the North's expanding missile and nuclear programs and the hard-line policies of Moon's conservative predecessors.

In a recent speech in Berlin, Mr Moon said dialogue with the North was more pressing than ever and called for a peace treaty to be signed.

On the separate offer to hold family reunions, the Korean Red Cross asked the North to hold relevant talks on August 1 at the Peace House, a South Korea-controlled building in the truce village, known as the equivalent to North Korea's Tongilgak.

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It was unclear how North Korea will react since it remains suspicious of new South Korean President Moon Jae-in's outreach to it.

"The fact that we wish to take on a leading role in resolving this (North Korean) issue has already been understood at the summit with the United States and the Group of 20 summit meetings", Cho said on Monday. South Korea usually refers to loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts by both sides, while North Korea wants a halt to routine joint U.S. -South Korean military drills as hostile actions.

Moon suggested this month that hostile military activities at the border be ended on July 27, the anniversary of the 1953 armistice agreement.

China´s foreign ministry welcomed Seoul´s peace gesture, saying it hopes "the two sides will move in a positive direction to. break up the stalemate and to relaunch the dialogue and negotiations".

If Seoul's offer is accepted by Pyongyang, it would be the first meeting of the two countries' military authorities since October 2014.

Previously, Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in all talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South a year ago.

Citing the draft White Paper, to be finalised early next month, the Nikkei said the Japanese government has concluded that Pyongyang's ballistic missile programme has achieved four attributes: Longer ranges, more varied launch methods, a more sophisticated so-called saturation attack and continued secrecy.

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