US considers temporary halt to North Korea sanctions

Certain sanctions may be suspended for 12-18 months

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Trump and Kim meeting at the DMZ (by Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The U.S. may lift U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea for a limited period of time in an attempt to make a breakthrough in failing denuclearization negotiations.

An anonymous source has told South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that when talks begin, the White House will propose a plan to lift some sanctions for 12 to 18 months in exchange for North Korea's shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear facility. However, neither the date nor location of the talks have been confirmed yet.

The source told Yonhap that if the initial period of sanction relief is successful, the model can be applied to other nuclear facilities, bringing North Korea closer to denuclearization and extending the period of sanctions relief. Conversely, a failure to meet U.S. demands will lead to the sanctions being renewed.

Yonhap quotes its source as saying that “the White House, when working-level talks begin, wants to set the conditions whereby they can begin the process of North Korea's denuclearization,” and that the potential deal is important “as it allows the U.S. and the North to test their intentions and build trust, but in a way that furthers denuclearization and sanctions relief.”

The sanctions on the table include a ban on the export of North Korean coal and textiles. The two industries make up a combined 66 percent of the country’s total exports, according to Stratfor.

The White House is looking to earn Pyongyang’s trust following a February meeting between the two countries’ leaders that went awry. U.S. President Donald Trump walked out of the Hanoi summit after North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un proposed that all sanctions be dropped in exchange for dismantling Yongbyon.