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Research Report

U.S.-North Korean Relations:: An Analytic Compendium of U.S. Policies, Laws & Regulations

Kenneth Katzman
Copyright Date: Mar. 1, 2007
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 214
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. III-IV)
    Frederick Kempe

    The United States has few foreign policy goals where the stakes are higher than its effort to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The risks range from regional insecurity to the danger that Pyongyang could transfer nuclear weapons and materials to other rogue states or terrorist groups. Success requires diplomatic skill behind a consistent and focused approach. It is for that reason that Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Donald Gross assembled a distinguished working group to consider U.S. strategic goals regarding North Korea and steps to achieve them. The resulting report, which can be found at, calls for the U.S....

  2. U.S. Policies, Laws and Regulations

    • (pp. 1-34)

      The documents in this section represent major statements of U.S. and international policy on North Korea, beginning with the armistice agreement that led to a cessation of hostilities in the 1050-1953 Korean War. The documents reflect the major outstanding issues between North Korea and the United States and its regional allies. The documents in this section do not necessarily, in and of themselves, impose any U.S. or other sanctions on North Korea, with the exception of one of the latest documents, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718. Also included is the February 13, 2007 agreement reached in the so-called “Six Party...

    • (pp. 35-68)

      The regulations discussed in this section bar a wide range of, but not all, trade and transactions with North Korea and North Korean citizens. The regulations reflect a variety of administrative decisions since the Korean War that have had the net effect of substantially easing the comprehensive embargo on the sale of all goods to that country imposed at the outbreak of that war. However, some additional trade restrictions have been re-imposed in connection with North Korea’s testing of a nuclear device and other reputed transgressions.

      The regulations, and major amendments to the regulations, presented below show that:

      imports from...

    • (pp. 69-114)

      The sanctions in this section are among the most significant in their application to North Korea. Were North Korea to be removed from the terrorism list, for example, many of the sanctions in this section would be rendered inapplicable, and U.S.-North Korea trade would be relatively normalized.

      Of course, the major question is what steps by North Korea would cause the Administration to remove North Korea from the terrorism list. It was placed on the terrorism list on January 20, 1988 following the downing of Korea Air Flight 858 on November 29, 1987, by North Korean agents. During the Clinton...

    • (pp. 115-122)

      The sanctions discussed in this section limit U.S. foreign assistance to North Korea. Some of the sanctions derive from North Korea’s continued place on the U.S. terrorism list, but they are presented in this section because they apply under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

      The following are relevant sections of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended Title 22 of the U.S. Code that would restrict U.S. foreign assistance to North Korea. The Foreign Assistance Act is the overarching law that regulates how U.S. assistance is provided to other countries. Many of the sections of the Foreign Assistance Act have...

    • (pp. 123-176)

      Some legislation suggests that it be the policy of the United States to promote change in North Korea’s regime and to highlight its human rights abuses. It is the view of a number of experts that changing North Korea’s regime into a more pluralistic political system, if not an outright pro-Western democracy, might be the only means of ensuring that North Korea does not pose a threat to its neighbors or to the United States itself. However, it is not formally Bush Administration policy to change North Korea’s regime. President Bush has also repeatedly stated that the United States did...

  3. (pp. 177-186)

    As discussed in the previous sections, North Korea is subject to a highly strict U.S. sanctions regime. Should there be a U.S. decision to normalize relations with North Korea, for example in the course of implementing the February 13, 2007 nuclear agreement, these sanctions and other restrictions would need to be removed in order to promote normal U.S.-North Korea commerce, facilitate U.S. investment in North Korea, to permit increased U.S. foreign assistance to it, and to promote cultural linkages. Many of the sanctions in place are overlapping and mutually reinforcing, meaning that a sanction might still remain in place under...