South Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease tensions

Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva

North Koreans hit hard by sanctions, report says

"The larger the US military base is, the more effectively our military hits targets", a North Korean military spokesman said, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The Koreas last convened for military talks in late 2014.

There are expectations in North Korea that with the development of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile program, future negotiations with the United States will culminate in the easing of sanctions, according to the report.

When Song appeared on the southern side of Panmunjom, a North Korean soldier guarding the north side took a photo of the South Korean defense minister.

The 8th Army Command is the commanding formation of all American Army Forces in South Korea.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain high after North Korea claimed it had successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this month.

South Korea usually refers to loudspeaker broadcasts and other provocations, while the North wants a halt to routine joint US-South Korea military drills.

North Korea said the South abducted the 12 waitresses and the restaurant manager and demanded their return, but the South said the group decided to defect of its own free will. However, South Korean intelligence services have since stated that the North is unlikely to have the technology to build such missiles, or the facilities to test them.

The North has conducted two nuclear tests since the beginning of last year and missile-related activities at an unprecedented pace.

North Korea's Workers' Party may be pushing "optimistic propaganda" inside the country and among compatriots in China, because sanctions are taking a toll on the lives of ordinary people. THAAD is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their terminal flight phase.

China, North Korea's most important economic partner, has been increasing restrictions against North Korean activity in the country.

With the passage of time, the number of survivors has diminished, with only around 60,000 left in the South.

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