The North Korean flag is pictured at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur on March 14, 2017. Picture: CHRIS JUNG/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
The North Korean flag is pictured at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur on March 14, 2017. Picture: CHRIS JUNG/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES

Seoul -South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha says her government will seek exemptions from international sanctions against North Korea to pursue "various" projects with North Korea’s Pyongyang.

Kang told reporters in Seoul that US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo would discuss an end-of-war declaration and other offers the US could make North Korea as it attempted to advance the stalled nuclear negotiations.

North Korea has been demanding the US take "corresponding measures" to its "good-will gestures" such as halting its nuclear or missile tests since last year.

Kang’s comments came ahead of Pompeo’s expected fourth visit to North Korea on Sunday, where he is due to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on a possible second summit with President Donald Trump.

"Our stance is that we will continue to abide by the sanctions against North Korea and continue collaborating with North Korea without undermining the frame of the international sanctions," Kang said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said later the government would seek sanction exemptions "in the event they are necessary" to pursue inter-Korean projects that the two Koreas agreed on in their leaders’ latest summit. South Korea had previously sought sanctions exemptions to invite North Korean athletes and officials to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February.

North Korean leader Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed in Pyongyang last month to link railways and roads between the two Koreas as well as other inter-Korean exchanges.

Pompeo will be in Seoul on Sunday after his one-day trip to Pyongyang and meet President Moon and the South Korean foreign minister.

The visit’s limited duration reflects the challenge the US has in publicly pinning down Kim on what Pompeo insists was his private assurance that the regime was ready to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

"The US understanding on the war-end declaration has made a significant progress," Kang said in the briefing.

"The key is what content will be contained in the war-end declaration."

Bloomberg

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