North withdraws from inter-Korean liaison office

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang

It combined South Korean initiatives, capital and technology with North Korea's cheap labor.

They added that Pyongyang "will not mind the South remaining in the office", according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.

The North Korean action came a week after its vice foreign minister threatened to pull out of nuclear negotiations with the United States, citing a lack of US steps to match disarmament measures it took a year ago. Speaking with local media in Kansas on Tuesday, Pompeo said it's time the North Korean leader show action, considering the distrust between Washington and Pyeongyang.

The sanctions on the Chinese shippers were the first since the second U.S. Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.

Seoul's unification ministry said Friday the South received communication from the North the decision came from a "superior authority", Yonhap reported.

North Korean staff left the liaison office in the border town of Kaesong, North Korea, shortly thereafter.

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The United States charged that the company a year ago shipped cargo from the Chinese port of Dalian to North Korea on behalf of the Paeksol Trading Corporation, which in the past has sold metal and coal to earn money for Pyongyang.

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.

U.S. -North Korean engagement has appeared to be in limbo since the February 27-28 summit, despite U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying on March 4 he was hopeful he could send a team to North Korea "in the next couple of weeks".

In the statement, the Unification Ministry said South Korea regrets the decision, and urged the North to return soon and continue the work being done at the liaison office towards a full peace settlement. Kaesong is also the site of a joint industrial complex both Korean governments have expressed interest in restarting.

The surprise withdrawal sends a chill through Moon's efforts for rapprochement with North Korea after the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi broke down over disagreement on sanctions relief for Pyongyang.

'We want to monitor the situation for a bit longer and respond to the developments, instead of making predictions or premature judgments'. But Ms Choe said that the North had only asked for five key economic sanctions to be lifted.