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North and South Korean top diplomats speak in Manila

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The foreign ministers of North Korea and South Korea spoke face-to-face at a gala in Manila Sunday night, according to South Korean media reports – reported Corssroads Today.

South Korea's Kang Kyung-wha exchanged words with her North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho ahead of the ASEAN Regional Forum, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap and broadcaster YTN. The annual security dialogue draws in 27 countries, including North and South Korea, the United States, China and Russia.
It was the first high-level encounter between the two Koreas since South Korea President Moon Jae-in took office in May and comes after the United Nations Saturday approved the "strongest sanctions ever imposed" in response to North Korea's missile testing.

Moon has long been a proponent of greater dialogue with Pyongyang in order to diffuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula. As an aide to President Roh Moo-hyun, Moon helped craft the so-called "Sunshine Policy," which called for an increase of engagement in the political and economic spheres.

Yonhap reported that Ri told Kang that South Korea's offer of talks lacked sincerity, citing an unnamed government source.

At the same forum a year ago, South Korea's former foreign minister Yun Byung-se talked briefly with Ri.

Moon and US President Donald Trump spoke Sunday evening Washington-time about the situation in North Korea and the fresh round of UN sanctions imposed on North Korea.

"The two leaders affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, South Korea, and Japan, as well as to most countries around the world," the White House said in a statement Sunday.

Trump tweeted that he was very happy with the sanctions, which were unanimously approved by the United Nations Security Council two days ago.
Those sanctions were levied in response to Pyongyang's long-range ballistic missile tests on July 4 and July 28.

Weapons experts say both of the missiles might have been able to reach the mainland United States if they were fired properly rather than at a higher angle.

The UN measures were implemented in order to make it harder for North Korea to make money across the globe. They target North Korea's primary exports -- including coal, iron and seafood -- and attempt to cut off its additional revenue streams by targeting some of its banks and joint ventures with foreign companies.

The Trump administration has made it clear it wants the international community to put pressure on North Korea, by isolating the country and depriving it of cash in the hopes that Kim Jong Un will put his nuclear weapons program on the negotiating table.

Some analysts have expressed doubt, however, that the sanctions can stop the North Koreans, due to the regime's ongoing commitment to its nuclear program -- which they believe would be the last thing that would see spending cuts. North Korea is governed by a military-first policy enshrined in its constitution.

Read more at crossroadstoday.com

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