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U.S. likely to relieve sanctions on inter-Korean cooperation projects

U.S. likely to relieve sanctions on inter-Korean cooperation projects

Posted December. 19, 2018 07:38,   

Updated December. 19, 2018 07:38


U.S. special representative to North Korea Stephen Biegun will make a four-day trip to South Korea from Wednesday for a second working-level meeting between South Korea and the U.S. It is rumored that Washington is going to relieve significant number of the sanctions associated with inter-Korean cooperation projects. The intention of the sanctions relief appears to be breaking the deadlock in the stalled nuclear negotiations with North Korea.

“The sanctions regarding the transfer of equipment and resources necessary for the ground breaking ceremony for inter-Korean rail and road cooperation will be discussed first when Biegun arrives in Seoul,” a diplomatic source said. "I heard that there is a high chance that the U.S. will relieve sanctions." It is believed that the U.S. is positive about relieving sanctions regarding inter-Korean economic cooperation, such as site inspection for cross-border forestry cooperation and reconnecting roads. In order to take necessary steps for sanctions relief, the decision should be made within this week since there is Christmas next week. It is unclear, however, whether video calls between the families separated by the Korean War will be allowed during the meeting since technical consultation is necessary on the transfer of optic fiber cable.

Biegun is scheduled to meet with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon on Thursday and have a meeting with Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyun and attend the working group meeting on Friday. The second working group meeting comes a month after the first meeting that was held in Washington D.C. on Nov. 20.

Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com