Anchor: Seoul and Washington are at odds over South Korea's sanctions on the North. In response to South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha's remarks about possibly lifting the so called May 24th sanctions, U.S. President Donald Trump said it won't happen unless the U.S. gives its approval.
Kim Bum-soo has more.
Report: Surrounded by reporters at the Oval Office on Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump responded to the South Korean foreign minister's remarks that Seoul is mulling ways to lift its sanctions on North Korea.
[Sound bite: US President Donald Trump]
(Reporter: "There is a report from Seoul today that the South Korean government is considering lifting sanctions on North Korea."
"They won't do that without our approval. They do nothing without our approval."
Commonly known as the May 24th sanctions, Seoul in 2010 slammed the brakes on all inter-Korean economic cooperation, following North Korea’s torpedo-sinking of the naval corvette Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors at sea.
[Sound bite: S. Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (Nat'l Assembly audit session Oct. 10)]
(Rep. Lee Hae-chan: "Does the current government have intentions to lift the May 24th measures?")
"Yes. I understand that relevant government ministries are reviewing the prospect."
At the parliamentary audit session on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also said that ending the cross-border penalties would permit individual South Korean tourists to visit the North without violating the UN Security Council sanctions.
Hours later, the South Korean Foreign Ministry sought to tone down the implications of Kang's remarks, saying any government reviews on easing sanctions are yet to be substantiated.
The South Korean presidential spokesman, meanwhile, tried to downplay Trump's hawkish remarks, saying Seoul recognizes the comments are aimed at ensuring consultations and consent with South Korea.
But the growing rift is already apparent. Foreign Minister Kang confirmed to lawmakers Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo complained during telephone talks about last month’s inter-Korean military agreement aimed at easing border tensions.
Amid growing calls from the North, China and Russia to adjust the strength of the sanctions, the U.S. remains adamant that North Korea will not be compensated during the process of abandoning its nuclear and missile programs.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.