South Korea walks back on possibly lifting sanctions on North

South Korea walks back on possibly lifting sanctions on North

South Korea walks back on possibly lifting sanctions on North

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday South Korea will not lift sanctions on Pyongyang without US approval, after the South Korean foreign minister softened earlier comments that some of its unilateral sanctions were under review.

Kang backtracked on her remarks after facing criticism from some conservative lawmakers that the sanctions can not be removed unless North Korea first apologized for the attack, a stance adopted by former South Korean governments. North Korea denied it.

The water is being supplied to a liaison office between the countries that opened in Kaesong last month and has been provided to the town's residents as well, South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said Wednesday.

"Yao is a star among North Koreans", Lu Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the newspaper - later adding that the Chinese player would probably have a bigger impact than Rodman in North Korea.

And last Saturday, she told reporters in Seoul, according to Bloomberg: "The South Korean government's position on sanction exemptions is that we will request exemptions of sanctions to pursue various collaboration projects between North and South Korea".

However, there are growing calls for easing sanctions.

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While Washington holds a veto on the UN Security Council - meaning it can prevent motions to alter global sanctions - it has no power over Seoul's policies, which include a range of bilateral sanctions against North Korea. "They do nothing without our approval".

He reaffirmed when asked if he had been contacted, "Yes, they do nothing without our approval".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and US President Donald Trump at their Singapore summit on 12 June 2018.

Lifting the South's sanctions would have little effect since USA -led global sanctions remain. But it's clear Seoul is preparing to restart joint economic projects if the nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea begin yielding results.

South Korea imposed unilateral sanctions on the North in 2010 following an attack on a warship that killed 46 South Korean sailors, banning most bilateral trade and exchanges. They also agreed to reopen a joint factory park in the North's border city of Kaesong and the Mount Kumgang tours, when conditions are met.

Seoul shut down the Kaesong factory park in February 2016 in retaliation of a North Korean nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

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The North and South also announced measures to reduce conventional military threats, such as creating buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border.

For decades, South Korea has been united with the United States against North Korea.

Washington, however, has insisted that efforts to improve relations between the Koreas should move in tandem with efforts to denuclearize the North.

In an interview granted to the Washington Post on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in NY last month, Kang said: "What we need to proceed with the South-North cooperation project as identified in the Panmunjom Declaration [issued after the April inter-Korean summit] means that sometimes we may need waivers on the sanctions, but getting waivers is very different from seeking a weakening of the sanctions regime". Her comments more likely reflect the opinions of an administration frustrated with Washington.

Despite three summits with Moon and one with Mr. Trump this year, Kim has yet to provide a convincing sign that he's ready to deal away his nuclear weapons.

"I'd love to remove them, but we have to get something for doing it", Trump said.

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He also said that there could "eventually" be a meeting on USA soil. "As there are many (bilateral) sanctions overlapping the United Nations ones, it won't necessarily mean the substantive lifting (of sanctions on the North)".

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