What Is the Point of the Inter-Korean Liaison Office?

President Trump blocked additional sanctions on Kim Jong-un's regime because he

President Trump blocked additional sanctions on Kim Jong-un's regime because he"likes him Credit Saul Loeb AFP

Several North Korean officials returned to the inter-Korean liaison office on Monday, just three days after the entire North Korean staff was withdrawn due to unspecified orders from "superiors".

The North Korean leader recently approved a return to normal operations at the inter-Korea liaison office in Kaesong.

North Korea reversed a decision to pull out of an inter-Korean liaison office by sending some officials back to work on Monday, South Korea said, a turnaround that came after U.S. President Donald Trump opted not to impose extra sanctions on Pyongyang.

When asked what South Korean personnel will do at the office, Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said "we are operating the Kaesong office, followed by putting in efforts to normalize the liaison office" without elaborating.

In its report, China, the strongest ally of North Korea, said more of half of its income-earning North Korean nationals had been repatriated.

It was not clear whether the visits by the USA and North Korean officials were related. "North Korea and the United States have the same objective but with differences in their strategic outlook", the official said.

The US special envoy for North Korea is visiting Beijing to coordinate policies with China, officials said Tuesday, a month after the failure of a denuclearisation summit.

China’s president meets European leaders to discuss trade policy
He will also meet in Paris on Tuesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Ang also pointed out that ongoing tensions between Beijing and Washington may encourage improved ties between China and Europe.

In 2011, Kim had described a torpedo attack by North Korea that sank a South Korean navy ship in 2010 as an "accidental incident".

An attempt by Seoul to hold a South Korea-U.S. foreign ministers' meeting earlier this month was reportedly rebuffed by Washington, where officials allegedly found fault with President Moon's call to resume economic re-engagement with Pyongyang in a March 1st address.

China has played diplomatic wingman to North Korea - even loaning Kim an Air China jet to travel to his landmark first meeting with Trump in Singapore a year ago - as Beijing is intent on keeping Pyongyang within its sphere of influence.

Trump also deployed Stephen Biegun, the USA special representative for North Korea, to Beijing on March 24 to continue U.S.

Before the second summit between Washington and Pyongyang in the Vietnamese capital, Biegun held working-level talks with his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok Chol, an interlocutor leading negotiations with the United States.

"I will seek a creative solution so that North Korea and the US can meet again soon and find common ground", Kim told a confirmation hearing, without elaborating.

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