Seoul – Top South Korean policymaker in charge of inter-Korean relations said Tuesday that the nuclear deal sealed between Iran and six powerful countries would put pressure on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ( DPRK)’s nuclear programme.
“The conclusion on the negotiations would have a pressuring effect on DPRK,” Unification Minister, Hong Yong-pyo told foreign correspondents in Seoul.
Iran and six major powers of the world, China, Britain, France, Russia, the U.S. and Germany, reached a historic agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions that hampered the Iranian economy.
Hong said the Iran nuclear deal would not result in the commencement of fresh negotiations on the DPRK’s nuclear programme given the different technical level of nuclear development between Tehran and Pyongyang.
The minister said South Korea would help the DPRK to `make a right choice’ on its nuclear programme.
Hong said South Korea does not necessarily set the DPRK’s denuclearisation as an absolute precondition for improved ties.
Even before the denuclearisation, South Korea will continue private-level exchange and cooperation to lay ground for the reunification of the two sides and restore the family bond between people, he said.
Hong said South Korea’s large-scale investment, like infrastructure development in the DPRK, had been restricted under the UN economic sanctions.
He said if the DPRK commenced the denuclearisation process, South Korea could support such development and encourage investments from the international community.
The minister also commented on the lifting of the May 24 sanctions, imposed in 2010 by South Korea against the DPRK after the Cheonan warship sinking that claimed 46 South Korean soldiers.
“The government does not necessarily demand DPRK’s apology for the battleship sinking incident first to resolve all issues,” Hong said.
He said that all inter-Korean issues should be resolved “through dialogue.”
The May 24 measures, which ban all inter-Korean economic cooperation except the Kaesong industrial complex, came after the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan sank in waters near the disputed maritime border in March 2010.
Seoul claimed that its battleship was sunken by the DPRK’s torpedo attack, but Pyongyang has repeatedly denied its involvement.
South Korea had maintained a position that the sanctions would not be lifted unless Pyongyang takes responsible action.
Hong urged the DPRK to come out to the dialogue table to resolve all issues, including the sanctions, noting that the May 24 sanctions were not meant to block trade between the two sides.
He said it was meant to develop inter-Korean ties in a stable way over the long run. (Xinhua/NAN)