Korea, US in ‘productive‘ discussions on Iran: official
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- A U.S. official on Monday hinted at progress in sensitive consultations between Seoul and Washington over sanctions on the Iranian oil industry.
"We are engaged in close and productive consultations with the ROK government on the requirements of our law," the State Department official told Yonhap News Agency, requesting anonymity. The ROK stands for South Korea's formal name, the Republic of Korea.
"In all our consultations we have made clear the importance of reducing reliance on Iranian crude oil and unwinding business dealings with the Central Bank of Iran," added the official.
Seoul is seeking a waiver from a new U.S. law aimed at tackling the financial source of Teheran's nuclear program.
The law would prevent any financial institution dealing with Iran's central bank from access to the U.S. financial system.
But it allows the U.S. government to issue waivers to firms in countries that "significantly" reduce oil imports from Iran.
The U.S. should decide on waiver eligibilities by June 28.
South Korea and the U.S. have been in talks over how much Seoul should cut. South Korea imports nearly 10 percent of its oil demands from Iran.
The department official said the U.S. is not ready to make a relevant announcement yet.
"Additional determinations can be made at a later date," the official said.
Regarding North Korea, meanwhile, another department official said the U.S. is in "periodic" contact with the communist nation.
“The United States has periodic contact with North Korea to advance U.S. interests," the official said, also on the condition of anonymity.
The official was responding to a question on the latest contact with the North through the so-called New York channel _ the communist nation's diplomatic mission to the United Nations.