Global Policy Forum

Easing Sanctions

North Korean Central News Agency
September 17, 1999

Sanctions against North Korea were eased after the country agreed to suspend long-range missile tests. After this background report, Margaret Warner discuses the situation with special envoy William Perry.

Nearly 50 years of sanctions against North Korea began when that country invaded the South in 1950. The Korean War lasted three years. But the sanctions have been in place ever since. Washington banned most trade and investment activities between the countries. In 1994, the two countries almost went to war over U.S. efforts to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.

But diplomatic efforts averted a conflict and led to an accord known as the "Agreed Framework." The Americans, joined by Japan and South Korea, agreed to provide North Korea with $5 billion dollars worth of light water nuclear power reactors and energy supplies. In return, Pyongyang said it would freeze its production of nuclear weapons at one site, known as Yongbyon. But the agreement did not address North Korea's missile program. In 1995, North Korea began suffering a prolonged famine that eventually resulted in an estimated 2 million deaths. The US joined other countries in providing food and humanitarian aid, which were not prohibited by the sanctions.

Tensions in the peninsula resurfaced a year ago August, when North Korea launched a midrange missile over Japan, claiming it was testing satellite technology. That raised American fears that North Korean missiles could hit American shores.

Redefining our relation with N. Korea

In response, the Clinton administration appointed former Defense Secretary William Perry as special envoy to North Korea. This spring, Perry visited Pyongyang, the highest ranking US official there since the Korean War. Though he did not meet with President Kim Jong Il, Perry did meet with several high-level officials.

Still, North Korea's missile program went ahead. Earlier this summer, intelligence sources said the country was preparing to fire a long-range missile that could reach Alaska or Hawaii. Perry's trip and subsequent months of negotiation led to a deal finalized last week by US and North Korean negotiators meeting in Berlin. Pyongyang agreed to freeze test launches of its long-range missiles and Washington agreed to lift what it called "non sensitive" sanctions. The public announcement of the deal came today in Washington.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, US Secretary of State: The United States is suspending restrictions on certain categories of nonmilitary trade, financial transactions, travel, and diplomatic contacts with North Korea.

SPENCER MICHELS: Many restrictions -- especially on technology and military supplies -- remain in place. The US still considers North Korea a country that supports terrorism. Today's announcement is part of a larger North Korea framework recommended by Perry in a classified report. Perry briefed congressional leaders about his recommendations on Wednesday.

More Information on Sanctions in North Korea


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