US Targets Oil Tankers Violating North Korean Sanctions

Protesters burn the North Korean flag

Protesters burn the North Korean flag Credit AFP

The officials also inspected possible accommodations for North Korean Olympic Committee officials.

South and North Korea have held several rounds of talks this year to arrange the North's participation in next month's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. "We are willing to have talks with the North Korean regime, but the time is not right".

Early on Thursday, North Korea sent a rare announcement addressed to "all Koreans at home and abroad", saying they should make a "breakthrough" for unification without the help of other countries, its state media said.

North Korea is preparing to stage a major event to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its military on February 8, 2018 - just one day before the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Despite escalated tension over North Korea's continued nuclear and missile tests, South Korea hopes that a partnership with North Korea in sports can lead to better political relations between the two.

"The US government is targeting illicit actors in China, Russia, and elsewhere who are working on behalf of North Korean financial networks, and calling for their expulsion from the territories where they reside". Some of South Korea's allies believe that North Korea may be misleading South Korea and engaging in malicious behavior.

A CNN investigation past year found a number of North Korea-connected front companies operating in Hong Kong. But, the US and South Korea have repeatedly denied those accusations and insisted that these exercises are meant to enhance the combat readiness of their troops.

The South Korean and North Korean squads are due to hold separate training sessions before the first joint practice takes place next week.

On the North Korea nuclear issue, Cho said it was "essential" that Washington and Pyongyang start talking to each other in order to overcome the current stalemate, adding Seoul would act as a conduit between the two countries to fulfill that goal. Sayari Analytics, a firm that uses open data to monitor the connections between businesses, identified more than 100 entities in Hong Kong linked to sanctioned North Korean firms.

It comes as the North has been stepping up its verbal attacks on the United States for what it claims is an effort to ruin an easing of tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul ahead of the Olympics. "We don't have much time, so I guess we'll have to hurry and get ready", said Shin So-jeong, a South Korean goalie for the team. China had agreed to halt fuel shipments as part of an global effort to pressure Pyongyang to forfeit its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles program.

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