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Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 12:11

ROK willing to discuss lifting DPRK sanctions

By Reuters

 ROK willing to discuss lifting DPRK sanctions
This handout photo released by the presidential Blue House shows the ROK president's national security adviser, Kim Kwan-jin (right), and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo (second right) shaking hands with the DPRK military's top political officer Hwang Pyong-so (left) and DPRK top official in charge of ROK affairs, Kim Yang-gon (second left), during their last meeting after days of intensive high-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas on Aug 25, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / The Blue House)

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) is willing to discuss the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) demand for an end to sanctions imposed over a 2010 naval attack, Seoul said on Wednesday, a day after the rivals struck a landmark pact that defused a standoff between their forces.

ROK is preparing to open a new channel of dialogue with the DPRK after the Tuesday accord, in which DPRK expressed regret over a landmine incident that wounded ROK soldiers and Seoul agreed to stop anti-DPRK propaganda being broadcast over border loudspeakers.

"When talks get under way, we think the May 24 issue will be raised by the DPRK which has an interest in it, and I think it can be handled through dialogue," ROK's Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee told a briefing.

Jeong was referring to May 24, 2010, when ROK announced sanctions that cut off most exchanges with the DPRK, including tourism, trade and private aid, after it accused Pyongyang of a torpedo attack on a navy ship that killed 46 sailors.

DPRK denied any role in the attack and had called for the lifting of the sanctions before any talks could begin.

ROK had demanded an apology from the DPRK as a precondition for lifting the sanctions, but has appeared to relax its stance since late last year amid rising domestic sentiment in favour of re-engaging with Pyongyang.

In their agreement reached just after midnight on Tuesday, the two sides pledged to hold talks to discuss a range of issues on improving ties.


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