South Korea: Not seriously considering lifting sanctions against North

South Korea: Not seriously considering lifting sanctions against North
© Korea Summit Press Pool/UPI Photo

South Korea on Thursday backtracked on talk of lifting unilateral sanctions on North Korea after the idea gained little traction with its own lawmakers and was quickly shut down by President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorsi sues Mueller for alleged leaks and illegal surveillance Comey: Trump 'certainly close' to being unindicted co-conspirator Trump pushes back on reports that Ayers was first pick for chief of staff MORE.

The Associated Press reported that South Korea's Unification Minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, told the country's parliamentary audit that there has not been serious consideration of lifting sanctions against North Korea, particularly if the North does not take responsibility for a 2010 attack that killed 45 South Korean sailors.

“At the current stage, I think it’s a little early for us to call for the lifting or easing of the U.N. sanctions,” Cho said, according to the AP.


South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Wednesday that the government was considering lifting the sanctions, which have been in place since the 2010 attack.

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.

President Trump responded bluntly when asked about the possibility in the Oval Office on Wednesday.

"They won't do that without our approval," the president told reporters. "They do nothing without our approval."

Relations between South Korea and North Korea have improved markedly in recent months, with leaders from the two countries holding multiple face-to-face meetings.

South Korea and the U.S. have been leading an effort to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang last month, and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump ultimatum sparks fears of new arms race Paul calls Trump's pick for attorney general's views on surveillance 'very troubling' Focus on Yemen, not the Saudi crown prince MORE did the same last week.

Pompeo said Tuesday that his meeting 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.