North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation [July 27, 2018]   [open pdf - 1MB]

"North Korea has posed one of the most persistent U.S. foreign policy challenges of the post-Cold War period due to its pursuit of proscribed weapons technology and belligerence toward the United States and its allies.[...] Efforts to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons program have occupied the past four U.S. Administrations, and North Korea is the target of scores of U.S. and United Nations Security Council sanctions. Although the weapons programs have been the primary focus of U.S. policy toward North Korea, other U.S. concerns include North Korea's illicit activities, such as counterfeiting currency and narcotics trafficking, small-scale armed attacks against South Korea, and egregious human rights violations. In 2018, the Trump Administration and Kim regime appeared to open a new chapter in the relationship. After months of rising tension and hostile rhetoric from both capitals in 2017, including a significant expansion of U.S. and international sanctions against North Korea, Trump and Kim held a leaders' summit in Singapore in June 2018. The meeting produced an agreement on principles for establishing a positive relationship. The United States agreed to provide security guarantees to North Korea, which committed to 'complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.' The agreement made no mention of resolving significant differences between the two countries, including the DPRK's ballistic missile program. Trump also said he would suspend annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises, labeling them 'provocative,' during the coming U.S.-DPRK nuclear negotiations. Trump also expressed a hope of eventually withdrawing the approximately 30,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41259
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