At the parliamentary audit of the Foreign and Unification Committee on Thursday, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyon said, “There was no specific review over lifting the May 24 sanctions against North Korea.” He scrambled to play down intensifying controversy as U.S. President Donald Trump directly put a break on South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha’s remark that a review was being made to lift the May 24 sanctions.
Both ruling and opposition parties asked for the government’s position over lifting the May 24 sanctions at the parliamentary audit on that day. “No specific review has been carried out,” Minister Cho said. “Provided, however, that we are flexibly responding to the situation while improving inter-Korean relations through exchange cooperation business between the two Koreas. The former Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye administrations also engaged in flexible actions.” His remarks imply that sanctions relief against North Korea will eventually be needed one way or another in the context of improving inter-Korean relations.
When asked about the prerequisites for lifting the May 24 sanctions, Minister Cho answered, “Measures in relation to the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan, which was the cause of sanctions, should be made.” When Rep. Chun Jung-bae of the People's Party questioned on whether there is a need to have North Korea liable for the sinking of the Cheonan warship, Minister Cho said, “It is something that needs to be settled between the two Koreas in the future.”
The minister has also revealed the fact that on-site inspection of businesses occupied in the Kaesong Industrial Complex or economic inspection is under negotiation with North Korea. “On-site inspection of the Kaesong Industrial Complex is under discussions with North Korea apart from resuming the complex,” said Mr. Cho.