Moon says South won’t ease up on sanctions just yet

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Moon says South won’t ease up on sanctions just yet


President Moon Jae-in, center, hosts a luncheon with leaders of five major parties at the Blue House on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday vowed that South Korea will not ease its sanctions on North Korea for the upcoming summit with its leader Kim Jong-un. “Sanctions and pressure are not our unilateral move,” Moon said during a meeting with leaders of the ruling and opposition parties. “They are based on the UN Security Council resolutions and the United States is also enforcing powerful additional sanctions. They are not something we can lift arbitrarily.”

Moon was quoted as saying by his spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom, that “Globally coordinated sanctions cannot be eased even if the two Koreas are talking. When the two Koreas talk amid strong international sanctions, and when the North and the United States talk as the next step and when substantial progresses are made there, sanctions can be eased based on a global consensus. It is impossible for Seoul to arbitrarily ease the pressure. We have no intention and it is also impossible.”

Following his special envoys’ trip to the North, which included a lengthy meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Moon hosted a luncheon with leaders of five major parties at the Blue House on Wednesday. Chung Eui-yong, who headed the delegation to the North, accompanied the president and briefed the top politicians about his trip.

Chairwoman Choo Mi-ae of the ruling Democratic Party attended the 100-minute event. Chairman Hong Joon-pyo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, Chairman Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Mirae Party, Chairwoman Cho Bae-sook of the Party for Democracy and Peace and Justice Party Chairwoman Lee Jeong-mi also attended the meeting.

Moon made clear that the South’s ultimate goal is denuclearization, and that consulting with the United States is necessary to create a specific roadmap, taking into account the advanced nuclear technology of the North.

“Preventing nuclear proliferation or a freeze cannot be our ultimate goal,” Moon said. “But it is hard to head directly toward nuclear dismantlement. So discussions can take place to reach an agreement for a complete dismantlement through various roadmaps. “We must have a very focused discussion with the United States,” he said. “I have presented an indefinite plan that the entry of the process is a nuclear freeze and the exit is a complete denuclearization, but what’s necessary in the future is further consultations for specifics.”

Chairman Yoo also said that Moon told the politicians that he had not proposed a specific step-by-step denuclearization roadmap to the North.

“The Sept. 19, 2005, joint declaration [from the six-party talks] is a failed model,” Moon was quoted as saying by Yoo. “Because the North’s nuclear technology advanced, the South and the United States need to have focused discussions on a denuclearization roadmap that guarantees verifications.”

Moon also shot down a demand by Hong and Yoo to fire his special adviser, Moon Chung-in, for potentially harming the Korea-U.S. alliance with his progressive views. “I don’t think all government officials need to speak with a single voice,” Moon said, supporting diversity within harmony.

According to a spokesman of the Liberty Korea Party, Moon also asked, “Why do I need to have a special adviser who speaks for the Liberty Korea Party and the Bareun Mirae Party?”

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