Seoul will not lift N. Korea sanc­tions sans US ap­proval — Washington

Business World - - The World -

SEOUL/WASHINGTON — 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.

Mr. Trump’s re­jec­tion of South Korea eas­ing sanc­tions alone out­lines the of­fi­cial po­si­tion of the United States and South Korea that the two coun­tries re­main in lock­step on North Korea.

He has en­cour­aged US al­lies to main­tain sanc­tions on North Korea un­til it de­nu­cle­arizes as part of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “max­i­mum pres­sure” cam­paign against Py­ongyang.

Asked about re­ports South Korea was con­sid­er­ing lift­ing some sanc­tions against North Korea, Mr. Trump said: “They won’t do it with­out our ap­proval. They do noth­ing with­out our ap­proval.”

South Korean for­eign min­is­ter Kang Kyung-wha sug­gested dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary au­dit on Wed­nes­day that Seoul was con­sid­er­ing eas­ing its own sanc­tions against the North to en­cour­age its de­nu­cle­ariza­tion.

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.

Ms. Kang later walked back her com­ments af­ter they sparked crit­i­cism from some con­ser­va­tive law­mak­ers, claim­ing North Korea should first apol­o­gize for the at­tack. The South Korean for­eign min­istry also of­fi­cially de­nied that the gov­ern­ment was re­view­ing the mat­ter.

How­ever, there are grow­ing calls for eas­ing sanc­tions. China, Rus­sia and North Korea be­lieve it is nec­es­sary to con­sider ad­just­ing UN sanc­tions against Py­ongyang at an ap­pro­pri­ate time, China’s for­eign min­istry said on Wed­nes­day.

In a rare con­fir­ma­tion of dis­cord be­tween Seoul and Washington, Ms. Kang also said on Wed­nes­day US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo had ex­pressed “dis­con­tent” with an in­ter-Korean mil­i­tary pact reached dur­ing a sum­mit last month. She said there were views in the United States re­gard­ing “ad­just­ing the pace” of in­ter-Korean moves.

The drive for de­nu­cle­ariza­tion sprang from pledges made by Mr. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their his­toric sum­mit in Sin­ga­pore in June, al­though there has since been dis­agree­ment over how that would be achieved. —

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