World / Asia-Pacific

ROK hints at easing May 24 sanctions on DPRK

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-11 15:36

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) has hinted at easing the so-called May 24 sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) when it comes to the humanitarian aid.

Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do told a press briefing Friday that he knew about what President Park Geun-hye said about the request from the main opposition party's floor leader for lifting the May 24 sanctions.

Kim said that Seoul was not considering lifting the sanctions at present, but his confirmation of Park's comments indicated the easing of the sanctions.

Rep. Park Young-sun, floor leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, met with President Park Geun-hye at the presidential office Thursday.

Rep. Park asked the president to lift the sanctions during the meeting, and President Park said she will push for it "from the humanitarian perspective" and within the range of enhancing national homogeneity between the two nations and building infrastructure in the DPRK.

The ROK has repeatedly expressed its willingness to provide the DPRK with the humanitarian aid and allow for non-political exchanges.

The May 24 sanctions were imposed by ROK in 2010 when the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan sank in waters near the disputed western maritime border with the DPRK in March that year.

The Seoul-led multinational investigation team claimed it was caused by a torpedo attack by Pyongyang, but the DPRK has repeatedly denied its involvement in this incident, in which 46 ROK sailors aboard were killed.

The sanctions banned all inter-Korean economic and personnel exchanges with the exception of the joint factory park in the DPRK 's border town of Kaesong.

Regarding the Mount Kumgang tour, the spokesman said personal safety of ROK tourists should be first guaranteed to resume the long-suspended inter-Korean tourism project at the DPRK 's Mount Kumgang.

The tour to the DPRK's scenic mountain resort, launched in 1998, was halted in July 2008 when a ROK female tourist was shot dead by a DPRK soldier for apparently venturing into an off-limit area.

Kim added the resumption should not violate the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council after the DPRK's nuclear tests and missile launches.

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