Washington has consistently stressed that sanctions will be remain in place until North Korea relinquishes its nuclear arsenal, with the State Department on Monday insisting that the US and China were "unified" on the pressure campaign against the DPRK. U.S. secretary of state Michael Pompeo came away from meetings Sunday in North Korea without a date for another meeting or news on when key denuclearization milestones might take place.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be held after U.S. congressional elections on November 6. "They do nothing without our approval", he said at the White House on Wednesday (local time), according to a transcript. "They do nothing without our approval".
The Trump administration maintains it's made good progress on getting North Korea to denuclearize despite no verifiable actions towards this taking place.
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said Thursday removing the sanctions has not been seriously considered and would be hard to do unless North Korea acknowledges responsibility for the 2010 attack.
Senior North Korean officials including sports minister Kim Il-guk and foreign affairs minister Ri Su-yong were also at the game.
"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. Last month's third summit in Pyongyang was partly aimed at salvaging faltering nuclear talks between the North and the United States.
Kang did not specify what Pompeo was unhappy about.
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President Trump is now preparing for a second meeting with Kim Jong Un, further building off the success of their June summit. South Korea has blamed North Korea for the attack, which the North continues to deny.
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. They said the North Korean leader appeared simply to be repackaging and dragging out past pledges.
But the removal of such sanctions wouldn't be enough to get the tours back on, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a policy adviser to Moon. "I think that North Korea is ready to open up, renounce nuclear weapons and build a new country", he said.
Trump said "eventually we're going to have lots of meetings on USA soil and on their soil by the way". "As there are many (bilateral) sanctions overlapping the United Nations ones, it won't necessarily mean the substantive lifting (of sanctions on the North)".
"For North Korea, the most meaningful result from the lifting of the May 24 measures would be that its ships will be able to travel through Jeju Strait again", said Koh, referring to waters between South Korea's mainland and the southern island of Jeju.
As part of his delegation to Pyongyang, Pompeo brought along Stephen Biegun, his special representative to North Korea and the diplomat expected to take on more of the day-to-day negotiating with Kim's regime. "This has nothing to do with restarting the Kaesong factory park".