The U.S. State Department expressed a skeptical view on Cheong Wa Dae’s comment that it will push forward with inter-Korean projects, such as Mt. Kumgang tourism and the Kaesong Industrial Complex project, within the framework of international sanctions even after the “no-deal” Hanoi summit. Concerns are rising that Seoul might not be in sync with Washington in terms of sanctions against Pyongyang.
When asked if the U.S. is considering sanctions exemptions for inter-Korean economic cooperation projects such as Mt. Kumgang tourism and the Kaesong Industrial Complex project, a U.S. State Department official, who is familiar with the Hanoi Summit process, said, “No,” in a press briefing on Thursday (local time). The official added that the pressure will be maintained (at the current level) but can be intensified under the president’s call.
Cheong Wa Dae has repeatedly said it will push forward with inter-Korean projects within the framework of international sanctions. “I think we need to carefully discuss this (restarting inter-Korean projects) with the U.S., our ally, within the framework of U.N. sanctions,” a high-ranking government official said on Friday at a press briefing held immediately after the U.S. State Department’s briefing. The South Korean official added that restarting inter-Korean projects needs to be explained as a blueprint for benefits North Korea could enjoy if it denuclearizes.
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