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Pyongyang slams U.S. for passing new sanctions

13 Mai 2017

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea on Wednesday.

Moon first spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping and later to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

It was the first such "track two" dialogue between the USA and North Korea since Trump took office.

Mr Moon has taken a more conciliatory line than his conservative predecessors and has said he would be prepared to go to Pyongyang "if the conditions are right".

Despite Chinese anger at North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests, China remains the isolated state's most important economic and diplomatic backer, even as Beijing has signed up for tough United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.

At the same time, however, a senior North Korean Foreign Ministry official flew to Oslo, Norway, this week to meet with former USA officials and scholars in what is known as "track 2" talks on a range of nuclear, security and bilateral issues.

It's a system created to intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles of the sort that North Korea might use to deliver nuclear weapons on South Korea (and maybe Japan) if it ever managed to make its nuclear weapons small enough to fit on them. However, Rep. Brad Sherman, the top-ranking Democrat on its Asia subcommittee who read the letter online, said it demonstrated North Korea's vulnerability to sanctions that it was calling for the House to "think twice" about strengthening them. It has also been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States, presenting Trump with perhaps his most pressing security issue.

The prosecutors on Friday said outgoing South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Lee Byung-ho and unnamed "masterminds in (the) CIA" are among those they intend to prosecute, North Korean state news agency KCNA reported.

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The prosecutors called for the arrests and extraditions of those they say led or were involved with "the disgusting state-sponsored crime". "I am begging for your cooperation. Sanctions will be tightened if North Korea continues these activities", Sherman said in a statement.

"In current circumstances where there is growing uncertainty on the Korean peninsula and the region, the U.S".

US and South Korean intelligence officials dismissed the accusations. The CIA declined to comment, as is customary.

Surely he'll want to see what Trump was talking about when he said South Korea owed the USA $1 billion for the luxury of providing a home for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) counter-missile battery now lurking on a Lotte golf course way south of Seoul.

North Korea has said it will seek extradition for those responsible for an alleged plot to kill leader Kim Jong Un, vowing to "mercilessly wipe them out". Moon symbolically has greater means to entice North Korea towards engagement based on his familial roots in the north, as his parents fled the port city of Hungnam in late 1950.

In their phone call, Trump congratulated Moon on his election victory and his country's "peaceful, democratic transition of power", a White House statement said.

In his earlier speech at the National Assembly, Moon thanked the millions of South Koreans who peacefully protested for months seeking the ouster of Park, who was impeached and arrested in March and faces a trial later this month that could send her to prison for life if she is convicted.

"I am well aware of the concern and fear of the Chinese about the THAAD deployment", Moon was quoted as saying when Xi explained the Chinese stance on the matter.