In Summary
  • Ms Kang urged Mr Ri to accept Seoul's offers of military talks to lower tensions on the divided peninsula, and for discussions on a new round of reunions for divided families.

  • It was the first time cabinet-level officials from the two Koreas had met since President Moon took office in May.

  • The UN-backed sanctions ban exports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore as well as fish and seafood from the impoverished state in a move aimed at slashing Pyongyang's foreign revenue by a third.

SEOUL

North Korea dismissed offers of talks from the South during a rare exchange between the two rivals' foreign ministers, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency reported Monday after the UN imposed a new round of sanctions on nuclear-armed Pyongyang.

MASSIVE LOSS

News of the brief encounter on the sidelines of a regional forum in Manila came as the South's President Moon Jae-In urged a "peaceful resolution" to the tensions in a telephone conversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump.

Even a conventional conflict on the peninsula could result in a million people dead or wounded within months, estimates say.

President Moon told his US counterpart the South "cannot let another war to break out" on the peninsula after the 1950-53 Korean War that sealed the division of two Koreas, the presidential Blue House said in a statement.

MEDIATION

The South's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha shook hands with her Northern counterpart Ri Yong-Ho ahead of an ASEAN Regional Forum dinner on Sunday, Yonhap said.

Ms Kang urged Mr Ri to accept Seoul's offers of military talks to lower tensions on the divided peninsula, and for discussions on a new round of reunions for divided families.

But the Northern foreign minister said: "Given the current situation in which the South collaborates with the US to heap pressure on the North, such proposals lacked sincerity," the unnamed official was quoted as saying.

Ms Kang reiterated again "the South's sincerity" and repeated a call for Pyongyang to come forward for talks, the official said.

It was the first time cabinet-level officials from the two Koreas had met since President Moon — who urges engagement with the North as well as sanctions to bring it to the negotiating table — took power in May.

MISSILE TESTS

The encounter came a day after the UN Security Council passed sweeping sanctions on the North over its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which sparked global alarm.

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