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> North Korea is likely to try and open negotiations with the US in 2018. That New Year's prediction made by the South Korean government on Tuesday. The somewhat optimistic outlook paired with this forecast. The North is unlikely to abandon its nuclear weapons program. North Korea will seek negotiation with the United States while continuing to pursue its effort to be recognized as a de facto nuclear-processing country, South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a report.
The ministry offered no reasons for this conclusion. The UN Security Council last week imposed new, tougher sanctions on North Korea in response to its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test.
e sanctions aim to cut the North's access to refined petroleum and crude oil. Pyongyang called the sanctions an economic blockade and an act of war.
US diplomats have made clear they are seeking a negotiated solution to reverse rising tensions on the Korean peninsula. But President Donald Trump has derided the talks as useless and said the North must abandon its nuclear weapons before any talks begin. China, the sole major ally of North Korean President Kim Jong Un, supported the latest UN sanctions.
On Tuesday, Beijing released customs data indicating China exported no oil products to North Korea for the month of November, apparently going beyond the UN sanctions regime. China said it also imported no iron or coal or led from North Korea for the month. In its 2018 forecast, South Korea said it believed the North would eventually find ways to blunt the effects of the sanctions.