North Korea wants sanctions lifted to resume US talks, South says

World | 3 Aug 2021 4:27 pm

North Korea wants international sanctions banning its metal exports and imports of refined fuel and other necessities lifted before it restarts denuclearization talks with the United States, South Korean lawmakers said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

The North has also demanded the easing of sanctions on its imports of luxury goods to be able to bring in fine liquors and suits, the lawmakers said after being briefed by Park Jie Won, head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), South Korea's main intelligence agency.

The briefing came a week after the two Koreas restored hotlines that North Korea suspended a year ago, the first hint in months that North Korea might be more responsive to engagement efforts.

"As a precondition to reopen talks, North Korea argues that the United States should allow mineral exports and imports of refined oil and necessities," Ha Tae Keung, a member of the parliamentary intelligence committee, told reporters, citing Park.

"I asked which necessities they want the most, and they said high-class liquors and suits were included, not just for Kim Jong Un's own consumption but to distribute to Pyongyang's elite," he said, referring to North Korea's leader.

North Korea's state-run media made no mention on Tuesday of any new request for the lifting sanctions to restart talks.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed a wide range of sanctions on North Korea for pursuing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in defiance of U.N. resolutions.

North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006 and test-fired missiles capable of hitting the United States.

The United States, Japan and South Korea have also imposed their own sanctions on North Korea. North Korea has not tested a nuclear weapon or its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) since 2017, ahead of a historic meeting in Singapore between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018.

Trump had two subsequent meetings with Kim but without progress on getting the North to give up its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for sanctions relief.

Kim Byung Kee, another South Korean legislator, said North Korea appeared to have "harboured discontent" with the United States for not offering concessions for the moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests.

"The United States should be able to bring them back to dialogue by readjusting some sanctions," Kim said, citing Park.

 



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