South Korean lawmakers said Tuesday that North Korea wants to lift international sanctions that ban mineral exports and imports of refined fuels and other supplies to resume denuclearization talks with the United States.
After a briefing from South Korea’s intelligence agency, lawmakers said North Korea has also called for sanctions relief on luxury goods imports so that it can import alcoholic beverages and luxury fashion. The briefing came a week after the two Koreas restored the line of communication that North Korea had suspended a year ago.
On Tuesday, North Korea’s state-controlled media did not mention a new request for sanctions relief to resume talks.
South Korean lawmakers said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have both expressed their desire since April to restore trust and improve relations, and Kim asked to reopen the line of communication.
They also said North Korea needs about 1 million tons of rice as the country’s economy was hit by the coronavirus pandemic and bad weather last year. South Korea’s central bank said last week that North Korea’s economy will experience its worst contraction in 23 years in 2020.
Sanctions against North Korea
Moon has made improving diplomatic and economic relations with North Korea a top priority, while the United States has long insisted that relations with North Korea can only improve if it abandons its nuclear and missile programs. North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests and launched test missiles that could strike the United States since 2006.
The United Nations Security Council has issued a set of sanctions against North Korea, including entities and individuals in the country. The United States, Japan and South Korea have also imposed sanctions on North Korea, but they are not binding on other countries.
Independent UN sanctions regulators determined that North Korea maintained and developed its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in 2020, helping fund it with nearly $300 million stolen through cyber hacking.
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