She cited the intent to create more diplomatic momentum with the North, but Trump reacted by saying Seoul could "do nothing" without Washington's approval.
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told a parliamentary audit on Thursday there has been no serious consideration given to lifting the sanctions and that doing so would be hard unless North Korea acknowledges responsibility for the 2010 attack.
Abe, who is eager to resolve the long-standing abduction issue, is exploring summit talks with Kim as the North Korean leader moves to build closer ties with the leaders of South Korea, China and the United States.
Lifting the South's sanctions would have little effect since US -led worldwide sanctions remain.
Cheong Wa Dae said it took Trump's words as the United States seeking to maintain close coordination on every matter.
Deputy foreign ministers of China, North Korea, and Russian Federation on Wednesday issued a joint communiqué reiterating the strong ties between the three nations and calling for a loosening of sanctions against the DPRK.
China has sent its basketball legend Yao Ming on a visit to North Korea in an attempt to promote ties through sport following a series of high-level talks between the countries' officials.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement there has yet to be a "full-fledged" review on the lifting of the May 24 measures.More news: Aladdin Live-Action Remake Has A First Poster
The Chinese delegation's visit to North Korea comes as the United States is planning for a second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump.
The sanctions ban all North Korean ships entering South Korean ports and cut off most inter-Korean exchanges, including tourism, trade and aid.
Currently, tens of thousands of people are being detained in North Korean in labor camps for their religious beliefs and defection.
Kang said "a review is under way" when asked about the measures that prohibit nearly all inter-Korean exchanges outside of humanitarian assistance.
Last time Pompeo went to North Korea, Kim ditched him and instead toured a potato farm. In Washington, officials have vowed to maintain a "maximum pressure" campaign until the North denuclearises.
Sanctions relief is thought to be among the corresponding measures North Korea has asked for from the USA in return for its dismantling of a major nuclear compound in Yongbyon.
After Trump and Kim met in Singapore for a summit June 12, Rodman said he did not want any credit for helping to bring the two nations together. Still, the lifting of the 2010 sanctions could offer at least some tangible benefits to the North. Pompeo recently visited Kim in Pyongyang in an effort to set up another summit between him and Trump following months of friction in lower-level talks that saw North Korea accuse Washington of "gangster-like" demands on denuclearization. "This will allow them to save time and fuel".
Other moves by the Koreas to reduce tensions include temporary reunions between war-separated relatives and military agreements that call for reducing weaponry and guards at the border and demining sections of the Demilitarized Zone.