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Trump aide says US not easing sanctions on N. Korea

WASHINGTON -- The United States will not ease sanctions on North Korea short of the regime's complete and verifiable denuclearization, a senior aide to US President Donald Trump said Tuesday, following reports that China and Russia proposed the United Nations lift some sanctions on the North.

Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to Trump, did not comment directly on the draft UN resolution proposed by China and Russia on Monday.

Instead, she told reporters the US position regarding sanctions has not changed.

Kellyanne Conway (EPA-Yonhap)
Kellyanne Conway (EPA-Yonhap)

"We're not easing the US sanctions on North Korea, I can tell you that," she answered when asked about the proposal.

"The president's keeping sanctions in place. And we need to see full and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And the president's made that very clear. And if it's not there, the sanctions will remain," she continued.

Reuters reported that the draft UN resolution aims to lift sanctions affecting North Korean exports of statues, seafood and textiles. It also calls for exempting inter-Korean rail and road projects from the restrictions, and lifting a ban on North Koreans working abroad.

A US State Department spokesperson said Monday it is premature to consider offering sanctions relief.

"(North Korea) is threatening to conduct an escalated provocation, refusing to meet to discuss denuclearization, and continuing to maintain and advance its prohibited weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs," the spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency in an email. (Yonhap)