South Korean President Park Geun-hye suggested, in a speech in Dresden, Germany, several weeks ago that unification of the divided country was inevitable, leading some to expect the Seoul government to ease restrictions against the North.
The Seoul government halted all cooperation with Pyongyang, with the exception of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, after North Korea sunk a South Korean warship in 2010. The incident claimed the lives of 46 South Koreans aboard the ship.
South Korea has demanded an acknowledgement and apology for the incident. North Korea has repeatedly denied any involvement.
The sanctions, called the May 24 sanctions, are still in effect, the Unification Ministry said. Spokesman Kim Eui-do said "the May 24 sanctions should be maintained until North Korea takes responsible measures that can be understood by our people."
In the past several weeks, North Korea had begun a provocative series of military maneuvers, including a threat to carry out “a new form” of nuclear weapons tests, the launch of mid-range missiles, and military live-fire exercises.
[Yonhap New Service]