EXPLAINER: Why North Korea wants sanctions lifted first

news.yahoo.com
4 min read
fairly difficult
Days after outgoing South Korean President Moon Jae-in made possibly his last ambitious push to diplomatically resolve the standoff over North Korea's...
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — nuclear program, the North on Friday rejected his call for a declaration ending the Korean War, making it clear it has no interest in political statements unless they bring badly needed relief from crippling economic sanctions. Nuclear diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea has stalled over disagreements over a relaxation of the U.S.-led sanctions in exchange for steps toward denuclearization by the North.

Analysts say North Korea is trying to use Moon's desire for inter-Korean engagement to pressure South Korea into extracting concessions from Washington on its behalf.

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WHY IS MOON OFFERING A PEACE DECLARATION?

The 1950-53 Korean War, in which North Korea and ally China faced off against South Korea and U.S.-led U.N. forces, ended with an armistice, but there was never a peace treaty.

In a speech at the U.N. General Assembly this week, Moon called for an end-of-war declaration while expressing hopes for a quick resumption of talks between the U.S. and North Korea. He said such a declaration among the leaders of the Koreas, the United States and China would help achieve denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Moon's proposal was an attempt to break the stalemate as he nears the end of his term in May 2022. North Korea had initially supported South Korea's call for an end-of-war declaration when Seoul helped set up a summit between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 in which Kim aimed to leverage his nuclear weapons in exchange for economic benefits.

Such an end-of-war declaration would make it easier for North Korea to demand that the United States withdraw its 28,500 troops in South Korea and ease sanctions.

But North Korea lost interest in the idea after talks between Kim and Trump collapsed during their second summit in February 2019. The Americans rejected North Korea's demand for…
KIM TONG-HYUNG
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