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US, South Korea Affirm Economic Ties, Will Discuss Expanded Sanctions Against North Korea

By March 2, 2017 at 10:50 am
South Korea's Finance Minister talks sanctions with US Treasury Secretary (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images News)

The United States and South Korea's Finance heads reaffirm their countries' close economic ties and opened the door to discussions regarding expanded sanctions against North Korea.

Yoo Il-ho, South Korea's Minister of Strategy and Finance, and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a brief conversation over the phone and both reasserted that the economic ties between the two countries remain strong.

It was the first conversation between the two financial regulators since Donald Trump took over the US presidency. During the 16-minute call, Yoo articulated his hope that both countries would "deepen their close policy coordination." The minister also gave his word that the lines of communication between their countries would always be open.

On his end, Mnuchin gave assurances of the American government's cooperation in different sectors through various platforms.

The two ministers also agreed to have a longer discussion during the meeting of G20's finance ministers which is set to be held in Germany from March 17 to 18.

Aside from expressing their commitment to furthering their countries' economic ties, Yoo and Mnuchin also touched on North Korea and the possibility of expanding sanctions against it.

According to a statement released by Korea's finance ministry, the two sides "have agreed to cooperate over the issue of toughening of financial sanctions against North Korea." They also agreed to closely monitor how the current sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council are implemented and promised to also be firm in executing their own sanctions against the volatile state.

North Korea's nuclear program is a sensitive issue to the United States and South Korea. Both ministers have even admitted to having "great concern" over the ballistic missile test that North Korea did on February 12. That launch and several other previous tests are looked at as a direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

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