SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Lee In-young called Friday for efforts to ensure that international sanctions on Pyongyang do not result in unintended negative effects on the lives of ordinary North Korean people.
"We need to assess how effective sanctions have been on the desired goal of denuclearization five years since they were imposed," Lee said in an interview with the Financial Times, according to a Korean-language release from his ministry.
"If the lives of North Koreans have worsened as an unintended result of sanctions, it is time to clearly point them out, at the least, and to review and seek ways to improve them," Lee was quoted as saying during the interview.
Lee reiterated calls for sharing coronavirus vaccines with the North, saying that countries with little access to vaccine supplies should not be neglected from a humanitarian perspective.
He also called for "more flexibility" in sanctions to allow "noncommercial, public infrastructure projects" during the interview, the ministry said.
In response to the North's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile in 2017, the United Nations placed international sanctions on Pyongyang.
N. Korea's suspension from Olympics augurs ill for Seoul's peace efforts
IOC suspension of N. Korea latest wrinkle in inter-Korean sports cooperation
Hotline restoration raises hopes for inter-Korean summit, resumption of nuclear talks
N. Korea's withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics dampens hope for renewing inter-Korean sports cooperation
Sino-U.S. tensions, tighter China-N.K. ties feared to weaken denuke efforts