South Korea says North wants sanctions lifted before restarting nuclear talks
North Korea says it wants international sanctions lifted before it will restart nuclear talks with the United States.
South Korean lawmakers who were briefed by Park Jie-won, the head of South Korea’s main intelligence agency, said on Tuesday that North Korea has demanded sanctions prohibiting metal exports and imports of refined fuel and other necessities to be lifted before the country and the U.S. reconvene nuclear talks, Reuters reported.
The North also reportedly asked for sanctions to be relaxed on its imports of luxury goods so the country can bring in fine liquors and suits, the lawmakers said.
“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, who sits on South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee, told reporters, citing Park, according to Reuters.
“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 added.
Reuters noted, however, that North Korea’s state media did not mention requests to lift the sanctions in exchange for restarting the nuclear talks.
The briefing between the South Korean lawmakers and Park, who leads the National Intelligence Service, comes after the two Koreas restored their communication links last week after a year of dormancy.
The two countries are also reportedly in conversations to hold a potential summit in the future.
The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, however, warned this week that the military drills set to take place between the U.S. and South Korea this week could undermine the relationship between the Koreas.
The United Nations Security Council has pressed sanctions on North Korea in connection to the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, according to Reuters.
The U.S., Japan and South Korea have all levied their own sanctions as well.
Kim Byung-kee, another South Korean legislator, said “the United States should be able to bring them back to dialogue by readjusting some sanctions,” citing Park, according to Reuters.
He said North Korea seemed to have “harboured discontent” with the U.S. after it did not offer concessions regarding the moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, according to the news wire.