• FM Chung: N. Korea Must Return To Dialogue Before Sanctions Relief
(Photo: Yonhap)

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong has said South Korea will consider easing sanctions against North Korea only if the regime responds to its offer for talks.

Chung told lawmakers during a parliamentary audit of his ministry on Wednesday that the North returning to the dialogue table is a precondition before any thought can be given to relaxing sanctions.

He also said action must be taken as soon as possible to prevent Pyongyang from further developing its nuclear and missile capabilities.

When asked if the United States' holds the same stance as South Korea, Chung said he believes they are on the same page.

He said Washington is willing to discuss all issues with North Korea if it comes back to negotiations.

The minister's hardline comments came after the North confirmed that it tested a new submarine-launched ballistic missile on Tuesday.

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