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Seoul: No sanctions exemption for inter-Korea liaison office

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea equipment being sent to the North to set up an inter-Korea liaison office are for South Korean use, foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said Thursday. File Photo by Yonhap
South Korea equipment being sent to the North to set up an inter-Korea liaison office are for South Korean use, foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said Thursday. File Photo by Yonhap

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- South Korea's foreign ministry said Thursday it does not plan to apply for exemption from international sanctions for an inter-Korea liaison office in Kaesong, North Korea.

Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said the items to be sent from the South to the North to operate the office are for the use of South Koreans, and will not be reported to the United Nations Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee, Asia Business reported Thursday.

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"As of now, we have no plans to apply for exemptions from the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee," Noh said, according to the report.

Yonhap reported Wednesday the South plans to transport diesel fuel to Kaesong for use at the liaison office's power generators.

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"All material and equipment, power supply to the liaison office is to ensure the operation of the office and for the convenience of [South Korea] personnel," Noh said.

The spokesman added the move is not for the purpose of creating economic benefits for North Korea.

"It will not undermine the purpose of sanctions against North Korea," Noh said, adding Seoul is "constantly consulting" with the United States and the international community on issues regarding the liaison office.

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On Wednesday Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa told lawmakers at a parliamentary hearing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed with Seoul his anticipated trip to Pyongyang was canceled because of low expectations, according to Yonhap.

The Washington Post and CNN have reported North Korea official Kim Yong Chol had warned denuclearization talks could fall apart ahead of the plan.

U.S. President Donald Trump canceled Pompeo's trip on Friday.

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