Trump's remarks infringe national sovereignty

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Trump's remarks infringe national sovereignty

By Kim Bo-eun

U.S. President Donald Trump has irritated South Korean officials and the people with his recent remarks over the possible lifting of Seoul's unilateral sanctions on the North. His statement is seen as infringing on the national sovereignty of South Korea.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa a day earlier stated that the government was reviewing the lifting of its May 24 sanction on North Korea. She later backed down, citing the need to review the matter flexibly within the framework of not undermining international sanctions on the North, but the controversy continued to flare. Lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties also exchanged barbs over the matter during a National Assembly inspection of state affairs.

Trump chipped in by saying "They won't do it without our approval. They do nothing without our approval."

While Washington leads the international community's sanctions regime on Pyongyang, Trump's excessive remarks are seen as denying South Korean sovereignty.

While denuclearization talks are chiefly taking place between North Korea and the U.S., the Moon Jae-in administration's stance is to take charge of inter-Korean affairs.

But the U.S. has been taking issue with developments these. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier stated the U.S. stance was that "it should be ensured progress on inter-Korean relations is in lockstep with progress on denuclearization," after meeting with Moon in Seoul following his visit to Pyongyang, Sunday.

Cheong Wa Dae offered a diplomatic response to Trump's remarks, stating, "this means that all matters will be carried out based on consultations between South Korea and the U.S."

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, however, gave a more candid response.

"The expression that we cannot do anything (without U.S. approval) seems inappropriate," Cho said during a National Assembly audit.

"There are some things we can do and the U.S. agrees about and understands this," he said.

While Kang's remarks on the government reviewing the lifting of unilateral sanctions on the North were seen as inappropriate amid the ongoing denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington, even if the government were to be reviewing such measures, it has every right to do so.

Cho said many of the elements in the May 24 sanctions have already been eased and exemptions have been sought amid progress in inter-Korean relations, not only during the Moon Jae-in administration but also during the previous conservative Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye administrations.

The issue also raises Pompeo's expression of dissatisfaction with an inter-Korean military agreement, which Kang acknowledged happened in a phone call with her counterpart.

Cheong Wa Dae said South Korea discusses military matters with the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), and not the U.S. state department.

A presidential office official stated he would instead refer to USFK Commander Vincent Brooks' positive evaluation of the agreement a day earlier.

The U.S. State Department, regarding Kang's statement on the possible lifting of sanctions, renewed its stance that President Trump has clarified the easing of sanctions on North Korea would be possible only after the reclusive state gets rid of its nuclear weapons.



By Kim Bo-eun

U.S. President Donald Trump has irritated South Korean officials and the people with his recent remarks over the possible lifting of Seoul's unilateral sanctions on the North. His statement is seen as infringing on the national sovereignty of South Korea.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa a day earlier stated that the government was reviewing the lifting of its May 24 sanction on North Korea. She later backed down, citing the need to review the matter flexibly within the framework of not undermining international sanctions on the North, but the controversy continued to flare. Lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties also exchanged barbs over the matter during a National Assembly inspection of state affairs.

Trump chipped in by saying "They won't do it without our approval. They do nothing without our approval."

While Washington leads the international community's sanctions regime on Pyongyang, Trump's excessive remarks are seen as denying South Korean sovereignty.

While denuclearization talks are chiefly taking place between North Korea and the U.S., the Moon Jae-in administration's stance is to take charge of inter-Korean affairs.

But the U.S. has been taking issue with developments these. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier stated the U.S. stance was that "it should be ensured progress on inter-Korean relations is in lockstep with progress on denuclearization," after meeting with Moon in Seoul following his visit to Pyongyang, Sunday.

Cheong Wa Dae offered a diplomatic response to Trump's remarks, stating, "this means that all matters will be carried out based on consultations between South Korea and the U.S."

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, however, gave a more candid response.

"The expression that we cannot do anything (without U.S. approval) seems inappropriate," Cho said during a National Assembly audit.

"There are some things we can do and the U.S. agrees about and understands this," he said.

While Kang's remarks on the government reviewing the lifting of unilateral sanctions on the North were seen as inappropriate amid the ongoing denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington, even if the government were to be reviewing such measures, it has every right to do so.

Cho said many of the elements in the May 24 sanctions have already been eased and exemptions have been sought amid progress in inter-Korean relations, not only during the Moon Jae-in administration but also during the previous conservative Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye administrations.

The issue also raises Pompeo's expression of dissatisfaction with an inter-Korean military agreement, which Kang acknowledged happened in a phone call with her counterpart.

Cheong Wa Dae said South Korea discusses military matters with the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), and not the U.S. state department.

A presidential office official stated he would instead refer to USFK Commander Vincent Brooks' positive evaluation of the agreement a day earlier.

The U.S. State Department, regarding Kang's statement on the possible lifting of sanctions, renewed its stance that President Trump has clarified the easing of sanctions on North Korea would be possible only after the reclusive state gets rid of its nuclear weapons.




Kim Bo-eun bkim@koreatimes.co.kr
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