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North Korea

US and S Korean experts clash over sanctions policy on Pyongyang

Incentives for dialogue could end up bolstering N Korean leader's position

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in attend a luncheon in Pyongyang in September.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- U.S. and South Korean experts agreed during a panel discussion in Tokyo on Friday that economic sanctions were successfully putting pressure on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, but their opinions diverged on whether the sanctions should be relaxed as an incentive for dialogue. 

Economic cooperation gives "incentives for North Korea to give up nuclear weapons," said Kim Byung-yeon, professor at Seoul National University. He estimated that the North Korean economy would shrink by more than 5% this year due to an embargo on the shipment of its coal, iron ore and marine products, effectively cutting the country's exports by 90%.

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