Petraeus Sees Tougher North Korea Sanctions Pushing Kim to Talks

Officials have insisted, however, they would only act at South Korea's request.

Here are four new key findings from Pew Research Center about views of North Korea and its nuclear program, based on a survey conducted in the US and six Asia-Pacific countries between February and May.

But the Donald Trump administration fell short of showcasing support for Seoul's overture, reflecting North Korea's evolving threats following its recent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile and refusal to even discuss denuclearization.

"North Korea should respond to our honest proposals if it really seeks peace on the Korean Peninsula", Seoul's Unification Minister in charge of North Korea affairs Cho Myoung Gyon said. The foreign ministers also said North Korea should "make credible progress on its obligations to denuclearize" as a condition for talks on a "peaceful solution". The last government-level meetings were held in December, 2015.

Last year, China shipped to North Korea more than 96,000 tonnes of gasoline and almost 45,000 tonnes of diesel, worth a combined $64 million.

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.

Since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took power in May, his government has tried to engage the North to reduce tensions, including offers of humanitarian aid, non-political exchanges and reviving the inter-Korean military hotline that Pyongyang cut off in early 2016 after Seoul shut down the jointly run Kaesong Industrial complex to punish the North for its nuclear testing and long-range rocket launches.

The defence ministry said Monday it's proposing talks at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday to discuss how to end hostile activities along the border. South Korea usually refers to loudspeaker broadcasts and other provocations, while the North wants a halt to routine joint US-South Korea military drills.

The government is likely North Korea's largest user of fuel products, but most gasoline and diesel bought by ordinary citizens comes from private dealers and smugglers, experts say.

"I deeply agree with President Moon's direction for the future relations of the two Koreas", said Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Gwangju, conference president.

Reuters also notes that North Korea has demanded the return of twelve waitresses who defected to South Korea a year ago as a precondition for talks. -China ties, taking precedence over other priorities such as trade and military actions in the South China Sea. North Korea says the South abducted the 12 waitresses and the restaurant manager and has demanded their return, but the South has said the group made a decision to defect of its own free will.

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