South Korea Defers to Trump on Keeping North Korea Sanctions

KCNAKim’s new ride is a slap in the face for the US

KCNAKim’s new ride is a slap in the face for the US

On Thursday the South Korean foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, suggested Seoul was increasingly willing to lift sanctions imposed in 2010 after the sinking of a navy corvette that killed 46 sailors.

"While there's still a long way to go and much work to do, we can now see a path where we will achieve (our) ultimate goal, which is the full and final verified denuclearization of North Korea", he said.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, October 9, said that planning for his next summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is advanced and that "three or four locations" have been short-listed.

"They won't do that without our approval", Mr. Trump said of the comments.

"Well, they won't do it without our approval". He's put a hard line stance on US allies maintaining "maximum pressure" against North Korea until it denuclearizes.

"The fact that they've had these meetings-both with secretary of state Pompeo and with President Trump-and have held back from a clear sign that they're moving forward, makes me kind of wonder", Christopher Hill, a former USA ambassador to South Korea and North Korea negotiator under president George W. Bush, told Bloomberg Television.

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 summit being arranged by Washington and Pyongyang.

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Choe Ryong Hae - one of the closest aides to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - and China's sports minister Gou Zhongwen also watched the men's friendlies at the Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong stadium.

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. Visits to Pyongyang by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other contacts with North Korean officials, have made little apparent leeway regarding how denuclearization should proceed. South Korea has blamed North Korea for the attack, which the North continues to deny.

During her conversation with lawmakers, Kang described Seoul's unilateral sanctions as a key obstacle in restarting South Korean tourism to the North's Diamond Mountain resort, which was suspended in 2008 following the shooting death of a South Korean woman there.

"He seems to have repeated his basic position on sanctions on North Korea", rather than specifically on the May 24 Measures, he said.

The Moon administration has sought exemptions from worldwide sanctions against North Korea to push forward cross-border exchanges this year amid a rapprochement in inter-Korean relations. Still, the lifting of the 2010 sanctions could offer at least some tangible benefits to the North.

Cheong Wa Dae said it took Trump's words as the USA seeking to maintain close coordination on every matter.

As part of his delegation to Pyongyang, Pompeo brought along Stephen Biegun, his special representative to North Korea and the diplomat expected to take on more of the day-to-day negotiating with Kim's regime.

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