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(LEAD) U.N. panel grants sanctions waiver for Koreas' relics excavation

All Headlines 08:00 April 17, 2019

(ATTN: CHANGES dateline; ADDS Seoul ministry's comment in 4th para)

NEW YORK/SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- A United Nations panel on Tuesday granted a sanctions waiver to allow the two Koreas to jointly excavate relics from a historical site in the North, a diplomatic source said.

The U.N. Security Council committee for sanctions implementation against the North issued the waiver at the South Korean government's request, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The excavation project at Manwoldae required a waiver to enable the transfer of relevant equipment to the North, which is under tough U.N. sanctions for its development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

An official from Seoul's foreign ministry confirmed that the waiver has been granted.

South Korea has been eager to expand cross-border projects as a tool to induce the North to give up its nuclear weapons program.

In the face of Washington's uneasiness about pushing inter-Korean reconciliation at a time of slow progress in the North's denuclearization, Seoul sought Washington's cooperation on the waiver in last month's "working group" talks on the North.

Manwoldae was the site of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) palace for about 400 years. From 2007 to 2015, the Koreas jointly conducted seven rounds of excavation work and discovered traces of 40 buildings and 16,500 relics.

hague@yna.co.kr
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