Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

USA may lift some sanctions if North Korea halts nuclear programme

USA may lift some sanctions if North Korea halts nuclear programme

Trump and Kim agreed to restart negotiations over North Korea's nuclear program in a historic third meeting earlier this month in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula.

The US and the other countries asserted that the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, or DPRK, violated United Nations sanctions by importing far more than the annual limit of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products, which are key for its economy.

"You have a man that when I came into office all he was doing before under [former President Barack] Obama was testing nuclear weapons and blowing up mountains and now he's not doing it", the president said. He met Kim three times a year ago.

North Korea has accused the U.S. of being "more and more hell bent" on hostile acts and sabotaging peace with sanctions just three days after leaders from both nations held a historic third meeting.

The two leaders promised to seek denuclearization in exchange for security and sanctions relief and made some good faith measures, but both sides expressed frustration with the slow pace of progress in the following months. The young ruler has had absolute control over political affairs since succeeding his father in late 2011, but now has the title of head of state at a time when North Korea's diplomacy is continuing to accelerate.

The South Korean news agency, Yonhap, quotes a source close to White House deliberations on North Korea, as saying that the United States is considering sanctions relief for the North Korean nuclear freeze.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands before their bilateral meeting during the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. They are keen to see a freeze in this production too.

The focus is on whether North Korea will make a detailed request at envisioned working-level talks between the two countries, which Washington has been eager to resume by the end of this month.

"I will say that I did actually speak to Steve Biegun about (a sanctions suspension), and he categorically denied that", State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, responding to a question concerning an article in South Korea's Yonhap.

"There is no mix of economic, diplomatic or military pressure that can verifiably eliminate North Korea's arsenal on acceptable terms in the next few years", read the report, which was produced by a study group on North Korean policy at the Washington, D.C. -based think tank.

The potential offer would see the suspension of U.N. Security Council sanctions restricting North Korea's exports of coal and textiles - a major source of income for the regime - and mark a compromise between the two countries after the collapse of their second summit in Vietnam in February.

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