South Korea urges North to abandon nuclear weapons, allow family visits

"He was sceptical and wary of the White House's hardline approach toward North Korea from the beginning", a senior South Korean official told Reuters, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Kang was addressing the UN Human Rights Council a day after the Olympic Winter Games closed in her country.

Joseph Yun, the US special representative for North Korea, is set to step down, the State Department said on Monday, in a move that comes as Kim Jong Un's regime says it's willing to hold talks with Washington. There is no doubt that North Korea aims to defuse tensions, reduce the possibility of being attacked by the United States and ease sanctions.

His announcement on Monday comes after US President Donald Trump reiterated his administration's firm stance on conditions for talks with Pyongyang. "The time, I thought, was right", he told CBS News. Pyongyang conducted its biggest and most recent nuclear bomb test in September and its largest and latest missile test in late November. Trump left the door open, but indicated he wouldn't back down from the condition that Pyongyang is willing to talk denuclearization.

"Sanctions are not an end in themselves and not meant to bring down North Korea but to make it understand that its future lies not in nuclear weapons but in working with the global community towards denuclearlisation", Kang said.

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The North insists that talks should occur without preconditions.

As is, the president has also not yet nominated an ambassador to South Korea. But the departure of Yun, an advocate of dialogue, could spur a shift in USA policy.

Trump is determined to stop Kim's government perfecting a nuclear-tipped missile that can strike the United States mainland.

South Korea's foreign ministry said it had been aware Yun planned to step down and that it had highly appreciated his work.

Republican Sen. James Risch of Idaho said earlier this month that lawmakers have been told "by administration people, about as high up as it gets, that there is no such thing as a "bloody nose strategy" " and that the option has never been discussed. They block assets held by the companies in the United States and prohibit USA citizens from interacting with them. China's foreign ministry also demanded the US immediately lift the sanctions "to avoid harming bilateral cooperation in the relevant area". This is because, in addition to the general US embargo on North Korea, which applies to US Persons, US law requires the US to impose sanctions on any person - US or non-US- who, among other things, knowingly provides significant amounts of fuel or supplies, bunkering services, or otherwise facilitates a significant transaction to operate or maintain a vessel or aircraft that is the subject of US or United Nations sanctions.

  • Sonia Alvarado