S. Korea offers talks on tension, family reunions with North

Cho also urged the restoration of military and government hotlines across the border, which had been cut by the North previous year in response to the South imposing economic sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang.

North Korea gets most of its fuel from China, with some coming from Russian Federation.

Until a breakthrough is achieved, Petraeus said, North Korea will be the centerpiece of U.S.

The European Council, which groups the 28 EU member states, on Monday condemned the July 4 launch as an "outright violation" of UN Security Council resolutions.

In an act to rein in the North, the United States is preparing new sanctions on Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang possibly within weeks, two senior USA officials told Reuters.

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South Korea's Red Cross said on Monday it wants separate talks at the border village on August 1 to discuss family reunions. The talks may be held at Tongilgak, a building at the Panmunjom truce village in North Korea, which was previously used for negotiations between the sides. They would also come roughly two weeks after North Korea conducted its latest missile test this year, launching an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan.

There was no immediate response by the North to the proposal for talks later this week.

Last year, China shipped to North Korea more than 96,000 tonnes of gasoline and almost 45,000 tonnes of diesel, worth a combined $64 million. In all, the North has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests.

The North's ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) launch has stoked security worries as it showed the country could eventually flawless a reliable nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States.

"Testing an ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region and the world", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement shortly after the test.

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European Union sanctions against North Korea date back to 2006 and are part of worldwide efforts to halt a nuclear and ballistic missile programme that experts say is meant to give Pyongyang the capability to hit the U.S. mainland. His statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire USA within its striking distance.

North Korea's state media has not immediately responded to South Korea's overtures.

"We hope that North and South Korea can work hard to go in a positive direction and create conditions to break the deadlock and resume dialogue and consultation", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing.

Later this month, both rivals will mark the 64th anniversary of the armistice agreement that brought an end to the Korean War.

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