South resumes supplying water in North Korean border town

Geneva Stokes
October 12, 2018

The U.S. and North Korean leaders held their first summit in June in Singapore, where Kim pledged to work toward "complete" denuclearization of the peninsula.

On Thursday the South Korean foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, suggested Seoul was increasingly willing to lift sanctions imposed in 2010 after the sinking of a navy corvette that killed 46 sailors.

The sanctions ban all North Korean ships entering South Korean ports and cut off most inter-Korean exchanges, including tourism, trade and aid. "They do nothing without our approval", Trump told reporters, when asked about her comments. "They won't do it without our approval".

Formally, South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was guarded in response.

"Now that progress is needed in denuclearization in order to ease the sanctions, (we) will closely consult with the USA and other relevant countries in accordance with progress in denuclearization", Noh said.

A trip by Pope Francis to North Korea is "a dream that can be realized" and would be a very big step toward peace on the Korean peninsula, a senior South Korean bishop said on Thursday.

Criticism has mounted here over Trump's remarks, which critics have labeled "diplomatic discourtesy" in country-to-country relations and indicative of Washington's one-sided perception of US-South Korea alliance.

This time, when Pompeo visited in early October, Kim did show up and the two appeared friendly as the leader arrived and shook Pompeo's hand.

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Kim told Moon of his wish to meet the pope during a meeting last month, South Korea's presidential office said on Tuesday.

South Korea then effectively shut down all cross-border economic cooperation except for a jointly run factory park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, which was shuttered in February 2016 after a North Korean nuclear test and long-range rocket launch. Visits to Pyongyang by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other contacts with North Korean officials, have made little apparent leeway regarding how denuclearization should proceed.

The agreement calls for the creation of buffer zones along the Koreas' land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border to prevent accidental clashes.

During her conversation with lawmakers, Kang described Seoul's unilateral sanctions as a key obstacle in restarting South Korean tourism to the North's Diamond Mountain resort, which was suspended in 2008 following the shooting death of a South Korean woman there.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement there has yet to be a "full-fledged" review on the lifting of the May 24 measures.

He said the resumption of water supply does not violate worldwide sanctions against the North over its nuclear weapons and missile program. Still, the lifting of the 2010 sanctions could offer at least some tangible benefits to the North.

"We can see that sport is being used as an extension of politics - it is an important political tool that is being used here by North Korea and Beijing", said James Floyd Downes, a lecturer in comparative politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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