South Korea mulls lifting sanctions against North: report

South Korea mulls lifting sanctions against North: report
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South Korea is contemplating lifting some of the sanctions it has imposed against North Korea in an effort to further improve relations between the two countries, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said the government is looking into the possibility during a parliamentary audit of her agency, the news outlet reported. The country has had unilateral sanctions in place against North Korea since a 2010 attack on a warship killed 45 sailors from South Korea.

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As part of the sanctions, South Korea closed down most cross-border economic activity, and banned the North from using shipping lanes in South Korean territory.

Asked about the possible shift, President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE said Wednesday that Seoul would follow America's lead on the issue. 

"They won't do that without our approval. They do nothing without our approval," Trump said.

The AP noted that, were South Korea to lift its sanctions, it would be unlikely to provide much relief to North Korea, as the country is still subject to harsh economic penalties from the U.S. and international organizations.

However, the willingness to discuss lifting sanctions provides an indication of the growing cooperation between North and South Korea.

South Korea and the U.S. have led the push in recent months to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month in Pyongyang, where Kim is said to have agreed to dismantle key aspects of his nuclear arsenal.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that his recent meeting with Kim in North Korea yielded "real progress."

"While there’s still a long way to go … we can now see a path to where we’ll achieve the ultimate goal, which is full and final and verifiable denuclearization," he told reporters.

Trump said Tuesday he expects to hold a second meeting with Kim after the midterms.