South Korea’s Sanctions to Stay Put

South Korea’s sanctions on North Korea will not be eased for the sake of a summit with Pyongyang.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he has no plans to ease sanctions against the North just for the sake of a summit with Pyongyang, Shin Yong-hyun of opposition Bareun Mirae Party told a briefing after the lunch.

“The president said just because talks have begun doesn’t mean sanctions pressure will be eased or lifted. There will not be any ‘presents’ for the North, either,” said Shin.

South Korea’s goal is the denuclearization of North Korea, said Moon in comments distributed by the Blue House.

“We cannot have things like the prevention of nuclear proliferation or a moratorium as a final goal,” said Moon.

Denuclearization Talks

In the first meeting of its kind, South Korean officials who met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday said he expressed his willingness to denuclearize the Korean peninsula if his country’s security is assured.

Next month, North Korea and South Korea will have the first meeting between their leaders since 2007 at the border village of Panmunjom, said Chung Eui-yong, head of the South Korean delegation.

South Korean officials who met with the North Korean leader, including Chung, will depart for Washington on Thursday. Chung said he had a message from Kim Jong Un that he will relay to U.S. officials, but it was unclear whether he would meet with Trump.

After returning from the United States, Chung will visit China and Russia, while Suh Hoon, the head of South Korea’s intelligence agency, will head to Japan to brief officials on the latest detente with North Korea.

Sincere but Skeptic

U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korea seems “sincere” in its apparent willingness to halt nuclear tests if it held denuclearization talks with the United States.

However, U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials voiced skepticism about any discussions.

Trump declined to say whether he had any preconditions for talks with Pyongyang as officials in the United States, South Korea, Japan and China responded with caution and guarded optimism to the possibility following months of insults and threats of war between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I think that they are sincere. And I think they’re sincere also because of the sanctions and what we’re doing with respect to North Korea, including the great help that we’ve been given from China,” Trump said at a news conference after meeting with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven of Sweden, which represents U.S. interests in North Korea.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon said Trump looked positive on the recent visit but noted that this is not the time to be optimistic about it as well.

“From looking at the news or Twitter, I believe President Trump is positive about the results of the North Korea visit (by South Korean officials),” said Moon at a lunch meeting with political party leaders on Wednesday.

“However, as this is just the beginning, I believe we are not at a situation yet where we can be optimistic.”

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