The US decision to give South Korea a waiver from complying with reinstated sanctions on Iran demonstrates that the alliance between the two countries is firm, the office of President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday.
The US has reimposed the oil sanctions against Tehran, but exempted South Korea and seven other nations from the sanctions obligations, allowing them to continue crude imports from the Middle Eastern nation.
"The US sanctions on Iran took effect last night and our country was included among the eight countries that were exempted," presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said at a briefing. "I think this is a case that shows the firmness of the Korea-US alliance."
Kim said it was because of differences on the Iranian issue that South Korea and the European Union failed to issue a joint statement after summit talks last month. Officials said at the time that the sides didn't issue a statement because the EU insisted on inserting sentences running counter to the US and Russian positions on the issues of Iran and Ukraine.
"I'd like to remind you all that it is because we made this kind of effort that we were able to be included among the eight countries that were exempted," Kim said.
The spokesman said that the upcoming high-level talks between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and top North Korean official Kim Yong-chol are expected to take on not only denuclearization, but also other issues, such as establishing new relations between the two countries.
Kim pointed out the State Department's announcement that Pompeo and the North Korean official will be discussing progress on "all four pillars" of the Singapore Summit joint statement adopted after the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The statement calls for establishing new relations between the US and the North, building a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, completely denuclearizing the peninsula and recovering war remains. (Yonhap)