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`Seoul could lift sanctions against Pyongyang if Dresden proposals progress’

`Seoul could lift sanctions against Pyongyang if Dresden proposals progress’

Posted March. 31, 2014 01:12,   


The South Korean government has reportedly set a principle that if any issues incompatible with the May 24 sanctions against North Korea occur in the implementation process of "Dresden unification proposals," "lifting of May 24 measures would be necessary."

Multiple sources in the Seoul government said Sunday, “Of the three proposals, expansion of humanitarian aid to North Korea can be implemented within the boundary of the May 24 measures,” adding, “(However) in order to establish infrastructure for people’s livelihoods in North Korea, May 24 measures banning new inter-Korean investments and trade, and South Koreans’ visits to North Korean territory except Kaesong and Mount Kumgang regions should be gradually eased.”

The South Korean government judges that in order to implement the Dresden proposals, it will start with regularization of family reunions, and assistance with "maternal-childhood health packages" targeting mothers and infants, but in the phases of investment for infrastructure such as transportation and communications, development of natural resources in the North, and implementation of the Seoul-Pyongyang-Beijing cooperation project centered in the North Korean city of Shinuiju, lifting of the May 24 sanctions is necessary.

Thus far, Seoul has been approaching the Najin-Hasan project, as an "exception" to the May 24 measures that ban the South’s new investment in the North. A source in the South Korean government said, “We made a detour route in order to secure national interests through the Euroasia Initiative.” To achieve the Dresden Proposals, however, the South Korean government is apparently seeking the fundamental solution of lifting the May 24 measures, rather than recognition of such exception. Seoul seems to judge that as the Park administration’s proposals to Pyongyang make progress, areas incompatible with the May 24 measures will inevitably increase, and the administration cannot afford to create exceptions for such cases every time.

However, many officials in the Seoul government maintain a cautious stance, saying, “Seeking to realize the Dresden proposals in itself will not directly lead to lifting of the May 24 measure.” They argue that in order for Seoul to lift the May 24 measures, Pyongyang should take responsible measures on the sinking of the South Korean naval corvette Cheonan through inter-Korean dialogue. As Pyongyang continues to deny the very fact that it was behind the Cheonan’s sinking due to a torpedo attack, Seoul needs a clever and effective tactic to address issues of incompatibility between the Dresden proposals and the May 24 sanctions.

A source in the South Korean government said, “The government will hold consultations between relevant government agencies, including the presidential office, the Unification Ministry and the Food, Agriculture and Forestry Ministry within this week, before taking follow-up measures for the Dresden proposals.”