"No detailed review (on lifting the sanctions) has been made. Still, in seeking inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation and amid improving relations between the two Koreas, we have been taking measures in a flexible manner," Cho said as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
According to the media outlet, the foreign minister had to take his words back after the diplomat had been criticized by the country's lawmakers.
"There should be relevant measures linked to the Cheonan warship incident, which caused us to impose the sanctions," the unification minister said when asked in what case Seoul would consider lifting the sanctions.
In March 2010, the Cheonan warship sank off South Korea's west coast. The incident claimed the lives of 46 servicemen, with Seoul blaming the tragedy on North Korea. A South Korean-led international investigation was conducted into the sinking case, which concluded that the corvette was sunk by a torpedo launched from a North Korean submarine. Pyongyang denied its involvement in the case.
The South Korean sanctions virtually banned all trade between the north and the south.