South Korean President Moots UN Security Council Sanctions Relief for North Korea

Erika Holt
October 17, 2018

Seoul and Pyongyang had earlier agreed to establish weapon-free areas in the JSA, with the aim of lowering tensions, in the military agreement signed by defence officials in September, the biggest pact on the matter signed by the two countries since the peninsula was divided in 1945.

South and North Korea agreed to press ahead with the groundbreaking ceremony to reconnect and modernize railways and roads along the coastlines of both Koreas over the next two months despite questions about the expediency and timing of the ventures amid little tangible steps towards denuclearization.

His comments come amid USA concerns that inter-Korean relations may be warming too fast relative to negotiations to dismantle North Korea's weapons programs.

France, a nuclear power and permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is not directly involved in talks between North Korea, South Korea and the United States to work toward the region's denuclearization.

Tuesday's meeting followed a North-South summit last month at which the Koreas agreed to hold talks with the US -led UNC, which oversees affairs in the Demilitarised Zone separating the two Koreas, to smooth the way to disarming one of the world's most heavily fortified frontiers.

"The South and North reached the agreement after sincerely discussing action plans to develop inter-Korean relations to a new, higher stage", said a joint statement released by the South's Unification Ministry.

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North Korea, South Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC) held their first three-way talks on Tuesday to discuss demilitarizing the border as the two Koreas push for peace, Seoul's Defense Ministry said.

Moon has described inter-Korean engagement as crucial to resolving the nuclear standoff and is eager to restart joint economic projects held back by sanctions if the larger nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea begin yielding results. It remains unclear what steps the United States plans to take towards denuclearization "of the Korean Peninsula", a reference North Korea has used in the past to include the U.S. nuclear umbrella in the region.

Washington has said it will keep sanctions on North Korea until the regime abandons its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Expanding inter-Korean economic projects amid improving North-South relations will be an "accountable and measurable way" to help Pyongyang make improvements in its human rights situation, according to Moon.

A military deal between the two Koreas, endorsed by Mr Moon and Mr Kim at their third summit, has provoked "discontent" from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Korea said last week. A Unification Ministry spokesman said the decision was made because the talks were held in a "confined space" and Kim was "widely well-known", but added there had been no pressure from North Korea.

They also agreed to hold Red Cross talks in November to set up video-conference meetings between ageing relatives separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

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