Japan says this is a time to raise pressure on North Korea

David Petraeus, the retired general and former Central Intelligence Agency director, said the USA needs to continue tightening sanctions on North Korea to get the country's "attention" and persuade it to accept a diplomatic accord over its nuclear arsenal.

Moon's government proposed two sets of talks to discuss how to dial down tensions and resume reunions of aging Koreans separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. It is the first such offer under South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who signaled his willingness to talk with Pyongyang during his campaign earlier this year.

The last time Seoul held government talks with Pyongyang was in August 2015 under the former Park Geun-hye administration.

At a press conference on Monday, South Korea's Unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon expressed hope that Pyongyang would respond positively to the proposal, and underlined the importance of military authorities from both sides cooperating to reduce the risk of incidents that could further escalate bilateral tensions.

Suh suggested the talks be held this Friday at Tongilgak, a building operated by the North Korean government in the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom.

China, which has close ties to Pyongyang despite Beijing's anger over North Korea's missile and nuclear tests, welcomed the proposal, saying cooperation and reconciliation between the two Koreas was good for everyone and could help ease tensions.

Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in all talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South previous year. But U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council earlier this month that if it is united, the worldwide community can cut off major sources of hard currency to North Korea, restrict oil to its military and weapons programs, increase air and maritime restrictions, and hold senior officials accountable.

At the end of last month, reports emerged that CNPC, the main supplier of diesel and gasoline to North Korea, has suspended fuel sales to North Korea because it is anxious that it may not receive payments.

The price of gasoline sold by private dealers in Pyongyang and the northern border cities of Sinuiju and Hyesan jumped to $2.18 per kg ($2.92 per liter) as of July 5, up 50 percent from $1.46 per kg on June 21, according to Reuters analysis of data collected by the Daily NK website.

The Red Cross has proposed the reunions for October, during the Chuseok holiday.

Primary users of fuel products in North Korea include fishermen, farmers, truckers and the military.

North Korea will likely accept Moon's proposed talks on easing border animosities, as it's something that it's previously called for.

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