South Korea-North Korea: Today's sixth round of inter-Korean working-level talks ended without agreement on normalizing operations at the Kaesong industrial complex. The North wants the factories to resume operations as quickly as possible without conditions. The South wants assurances that the North will not shut down the plants again. Negotiators set no date for another round of talks.
After the talks ended, North Korea threatened to deploy military forces at the factory complex.
Comment: Today was the last date for progress this month because over the weekend North Korean energies will be devoted to festivities related to celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. Preoccupation with hosting many foreign guests, including a rare delegation from the Indian government and parliament, will preclude talks with the South. The North celebrates the Armistice as the date of its victory over the Allies.
After that preparations for and execution of Allied exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian (20-31 August) will raise tension again with the North. Talks might resume about the time of the harvest festival, Chusok, at the time of the autumn equinox around 18 and 19 September.
China-North Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met visiting Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao in Pyongyang on 25 July to discuss relations between their two countries.
According to the Chinese news service Xinhua, Li arrived earlier in the day to pay a visit to the North Korea and to attend activities marking the 60th anniversary of the Korea War Armistice on 27 July.
"Li said that, as a neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, China persisted in the realization of its denuclearization and the maintenance of its peace and stability. China insisted problems should be solved by dialogue and negotiation."
"Li said China would like to push the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and devote itself to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula together with all related parties, in a bid to achieve peace in the region"
Kim Jong Un said that his country "was dedicated to developing its economy and improving its people's lives, which required a stable outer environment. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea supported China's efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks, and would like to make efforts with all parties to protect the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula."
In Other News: Can We Ask Al Qaeda for a Refund on the Bowe Bergdahl Prisoner Swap? | Michael Schaus