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Iran Press TV

North Korea demands sanctions relief to resume talks with US: Seoul

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 03 August 2021 10:12 AM

North Korea has called for relief from international sanctions as a precondition to resuming denuclearization talks with the United States, South Korean officials say.

"As a precondition to reopen talks, North Korea argues that the United States should allow mineral exports and imports of refined oil and necessities," said Ha Tae-keung, a member of South Korea's parliamentary intelligence committee.

Citing Park Jie-won, head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS), Ha said that the North's leader Kim Jong-un had also proposed the restoration of relations with South Korea.

Since April, Kim and the South President Moon Jae-in have exchanged two official letters, in which they shared their commitment to "recovering trust and improving relations between the two Koreas," according to the spy agency.

North Korea has long been under harsh United Nations sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs. The US has spearheaded those sanctions and has imposed several rounds of its own.

However, under the auspices of South Korea, former US president Donald Trump met with Kim three times. And lower-level talks were also held between the US and North Korea. But Trump refused to relieve any of the sanctions on the North in return for several steps taken by Pyongyang toward denuclearization. That hampered further diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington and prompted Kim to announce an end to a moratorium on the country's missile tests.

But another South Korean legislator, Kim Byung-kee, said on Tuesday that Pyongyang appeared to have "harbored discontent" with Washington for not offering concessions in return for the moratorium on nuclear and missile tests.

"The United States should be able to bring them back to dialog by readjusting some sanctions," he said.

Earlier this year, the Whited House claimed that Biden was open to negotiations with Pyongyang on denuclearization. But Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was "up to North Korea to decide whether it wants to engage or not on that basis."

Meanwhile, the US and South Korea are preparing to conduct a joint military exercise via computer simulation this month. North Korea regards those drills as rehearsals for invasion.

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