March 26, 2019 09:41
Some North Korean personnel returned to the cross-border liaison office on Monday, three days after Pyongyang unilaterally pulled out, according to the Unification Ministry.
"About five North Koreans returned to the inter-Korean liaison office around 8:10 a.m. Monday," a ministry spokesman told reporters. "A routine morning meeting was held between officials from the two sides around 9:30 a.m." They held another meeting at 3 p.m.
Normally, about a dozen North Korean officials stay at the office on weekdays, but only four or five officials turned up that morning. They commute from Pyongyang.
"Pyongyang's commitment remains unchanged for the liaison office to implement projects in accordance with inter-Korean joint declarations," a North Korean official said.
Last Friday, North Korean officials said they were pulled out on the instruction of their superiors. But they would have returned to Pyongyang for the weekend anyway. From the South Korean side, 11 officials and 28 support personnel arrived on Monday from Seoul, where they spend the weekend.
Pyongyang may have been motivated by U.S. President Donald Trump's surprise announcement Friday that he was reversing a fresh round of sanctions against the North.
Pyongyang's decision to pull out of the liaison office came about six hours after the U.S. Treasury Department's announcement of new sanctions targeting two Chinese shipping companies that helped North Korea evade sanctions.
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