July 24, 2018 10:51
A senior U.S. State Department official will visit Seoul soon to get a better grasp of inter-Korean economic cooperation.
Mark Lambert, a special representative for North Korean policy, is expected to meet executives of South Korean businesses that have been involved in cross-border projects.
They will include firms that had workshops in the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex, Hyundai Asan, which used to run package tours to Mt. Kumgang in North Korea, as well as KORAIL and KT.
"Lambert will listen to executives of South Korean companies about their involvement in cross-border economic projects and determine whether they violate sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and the U.S.," a diplomatic source said.
Lambert is visiting because Seoul has asked for a range of exemptions from sanctions as cross-border exchanges warm up.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, told reporters right after a briefing at the UNSC last Friday, "What we have been seeing is certain countries wanting to do waivers, certain countries saying, 'Let's lift sanctions,' certain countries wanting to do more… What we continue to reiterate is we can't do one thing until we see North Korea respond to their promise to denuclearize."
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who returned from the U.S. early Monday morning, reiterated that some exemptions are necessary, but stressed that this is not a request for a wholesale easing of sanctions.
"This isn't an approach to easing sanctions completely, but an effort to win an exemption from sanctions on the North needed for the implementation of projects, which the leaders of the two Koreas agreed on, including the establishment of a cross-border liaison office," Unification Ministry spokesman Baek Tae-hyun told reporters on Monday.
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