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'Some sanctions should be eased given N. Korea's recent behavior,' ruling party says

'Some sanctions should be eased given N. Korea's recent behavior,' ruling party says

Posted October. 20, 2018 07:25,   

Updated October. 20, 2018 07:25


As Pope Francis indicated that he is willing to visit North Korea, the ruling party of South Korea is set to create a positive atmosphere for easing of sanctions against North Korea.

“Pope Francis’ willingness to visit North Korea will speed up denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula,” said Hong Young-pyo, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, at a meeting with the party leadership. “The reciprocal gesture to North Korea’s efforts toward denuclearization would be considering easing sanctions against it.” The reciprocal gesture refers to declaring an end to the Korean War and easing of sanctions as corresponding measures for the North’s shutting down of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and Tongchang-ri satellite launch facility.

Of concerns that proposing to lift some of the sanctions against North Korea may undermine the South Korea-U.S. alliance, the floor leader said. “Some think there is a difference in opinion between Seoul and Washington over the pace of improving inter-Korean ties and denuclearization. Many of them are trying to incite conflict,” and stressed that “Right after the Trump-Kim summit in June, U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned phasing out sanctions imposed against North Korea, saying that if denuclearization reaches 20 percent, it can be considered irrevocable.”

North Korea is urging the international community to ease sanctions. The Voice of America reported Thursday (local time) that North Korea Ambassador to the United Nations Kim Song made an appeal at a meeting of the Second Committee of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on October 9. “The existence of the people and the right to development are seriously restricted due to the sanctions against North Korea,” the North Korean diplomat said. "The transport of humanitarian aid items such as essential drugs and X-ray equipment is prohibited by the U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea."

Sang-Un Kim sukim@donga.com · Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com