Trump cancels new sanctions on N. Korea, contradicts Treasury

South Korean Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung said the 25 South Korean government officials based at the office would, indeed, remain there over the weekend, according to Yonhap news agency.

Seoul's unification ministry said Friday the South received communication from the North the decision came from a "superior authority", Yonhap reported. It said South Korea urges the North to return its staff to the liaison office soon.

Given that US President Donald Trump has repeatedly lauded North Korea's ongoing missile and nuclear test moratorium, Go suggested that the Pyongyang regime was loath to fire off a missile, which could cross a significant red line for the mercurial US president, with whom North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have a mutually respectful relationship. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un listen to questions from the media during the one-on-one bilateral meeting at the second North Korea-U.S. summit in the Metropole hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019.

China considers the United States decision to impose sanctions on two of its companies for allegedly violating North Korea sanctions unlawful and a step in the wrong direction in terms of Beijing-Washington cooperation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Friday.

Both Koreas want the U.S.to allow exemptions from sanctions to permit the reopening of the factory park, which provided North Korea with much-needed foreign currency.

He underlined that China respected all United Nations resolutions on North Korea.

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The South Korean statement calls the North's decision "regrettable".

Pyongyang officials said they were acting on "higher-level" instructions as they informed their South Korean counterparts of the move today. Last July, the Netherlands seized a cargo of Belarusian vodka, also banned as luxury goods, en route to North Korea via the company, it said.

Since last month's failed summit in Vietnam between the United States and North Korean leaders, Pyongyang has warned that it could resume missile and nuclear testing.

It also cited 67 vessels for engaging in illicit transfers of refined petroleum with North Korean tankers or facilitating the export of the North's coal.

While declining to say whether Washington was trying to send a post-summit message to Pyongyang, the official said Trump "has made clear that the door is wide open to continuing the dialogue with North Korea".

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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