North Korea Actions at Joint Office Message For Seoul

039;Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang Has Room Reserved for US Liaison Office'

South Korea's Unification Ministry said some North Korean staff members were working at the liaison office on Monday and the two sides held a consultation.

The unification ministry said some of the North Korean staff were back at work on Monday saying they had come to cover their "shift as usual".

President Donald Trump last week meant to reverse sanctions imposed on two Chinese shipping companies accused of violating North Korea trade prohibitions - until officials in his administration persuaded him to back off and then devised a misleading explanation of his vague tweet announcing the move.

The two Koreas opened the liaison office in September past year to foster their cross-border exchanges and reduce tensions by keeping a communications channel open all the time.

However, Klinger notes Pyongyang has been "dismissing" South Korea as a mediator for talks between the United States and North Korea, citing recent remarks by North Korea's vice foreign minister, calling the action akin to "shooting themselves in the foot".

North Korea will not see any significant sanctions relief until it completely and verifiably gets rid of its nuclear arsenal, US Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford has stated.

Syria Calls on Security Council For Golan Heights Crisis
It further added that the decision merely normalizes occupation and violence while weakening the value of global law. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Executive Committee, called it an "assault on worldwide law".

Trump's signaling of a willingness to negotiate appears to have played a role in North Korea's decision to return some staff to the liaison office.

"Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea's sanctions evasion", USA national security adviser John Bolton said on his Twitter at the time.

On Monday, South Korean stocks fell the most in almost five months as fears of global economic slowdown spooked investors.

"Pressure from the cumulative effects of 11 United Nations resolutions, U.S., and worldwide laws was what brought North Korea back to the negotiating table", said Klinger.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un agreed to open the liaison office after their first summit last April in the truce village of Panmunjom. The Ministry of Unification handles relations with North Korea. A summit between their leaders broke down without agreement last month.

Biegun is likely pursuing the resumption of negotiations with the North Koreans, while at the same time calling on China to continue sanctions enforcement.

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