Trump angry after South Korea signals it may ease North Korea sanctions

Trump angry after South Korea signals it may ease North Korea sanctions

Kang's remarks on sanctions, retracted after criticism from South Korean lawmakers, prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to say South Korea would need U.S. approval to relieve sanctions.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha had said on Wednesday that Seoul was considering lifting measures applied after a deadly attack in 2010.

China is the North's main diplomatic backer and Pyongyang also has friendly relations with Russian Federation. "In this current state, North Korea's plan to bring revolution to the South has not been suspended", Jeon said Wednesday.

Kang argued that the measures needed to be reviewed because negotiations between the two countries were improving and numerous sanctions from the measures were identical with existing United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

Moon has described inter-Korean engagement as crucial to resolving the nuclear standoff.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has pursued a thaw in cross-border ties, holding three summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this year. "We have very big sanctions", Trump said.

In contrast the United States, which spearheaded global efforts to squeeze the North Korean economy a year ago, has been adamant that the sanctions remain in place until Pyongyang's "final, fully verified denuclearization".

Kang said Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had expressed displeasure about the Koreas' military agreement. Kang did not specify what Pompeo was unhappy about, but said he asked "multiple questions" about the agreement's content. Kang's comments are likely to fuel speculation that Washington wasn't fully on board before Seoul signed the agreement.

While some in the U.S. administration have indicated that denuclearization could be completed within the lifespan of the Trump administration, some experts say it could take more than a decade - assuming it is faithfully implemented, which many doubt.

Despite the current mood of detente and negotiation between the Koreas, the removal of sanctions would be a hard decision for Seoul's government.

The law is needed to deal with cases of North Korea espionage in the South, Jeon said, adding North Korea's laws allow human rights violations to take place.

Abe, who is eager to resolve the long-standing abduction issue, is exploring summit talks with Kim as the North Korean leader moves to build closer ties with the leaders of South Korea, China and the United States.

"The government should first appeal to the bereaved families for their understanding", Rep. Chung Jin-seok of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, said.

Seoul then effectively shut down all cross-border economic cooperation except for a joint factory park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, where business activities and investment were also scaled back.

"Noting the important steps taken by the DPRK in the direction of denuclearization, the parties considered it necessary to start a timely review by the UN Security Council of the sanctions measures against the DPRK", the Joint Information Communiqué on Tripartite Consultations said. Still, the lifting of the 2010 sanctions could offer at least some tangible benefits to the North.