The Korea Herald


Seoul conditionally willing to discuss sanctions on N.K.

By 이다영

Published : May 24, 2015 - 15:54

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Seoul said Sunday it is willing to discuss the issue of its sanctions on North Korea if Pyongyang agrees to resume long-stalled inter-Korean talks.

Seoul slapped a set of sanctions on North Korea on May 24, 2010, some two months after the North torpedoed the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, killing 46 sailors.

The so-called May 24th Measure bans all inter-Korean exchanges, except for an inter-Korean industrial complex and humanitarian aid.

Pyongyang has asked Seoul to lift the sanctions before any inter-Korean dialogue, but the South maintains that the North should first take "responsible action" for the sinking of the Cheonan.

"South Korea is open to discussing various issues including the sanctions if the North responds to our proposal for inter-Korean talks," the Ministry of Unification said in a statement.

In late December, the South proposed that the rival Koreas hold high-level talks to help resolve pending issues, including family reunions. Pyongyang has yet to respond to the overture.

The ministry added that South Korea will continue to seek inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation while leaving the sanctions in place.

The ministry's statement came on the fifth anniversary of the attack, which took place just south of the inter-Korean border in the Yellow Sea.

Pyongyang maintains it has been wrongly accused.   

Earlier Sunday, North Korea repeated its demand for an inter-Korean investigation into the sinking, first made in July 2010, in return for abolishing the May 24th measure.

"If there is a basis to believe that the sinking was our doing, (South Korea) should accept our demands to jointly inspect the incident in front of all our people and the world," the Policy Department of the North's National Defense Commission said in a statement.(Yonhap)