From the Background: "In 2018, following two years of a steadily escalating crisis that threatened to erupt into military conflict, Trump and Kim defused tensions. Departing from the bottom-up approaches undertaken by previous administrations, their diplomatic efforts relied on summits and leader-to-leader communication. Trump and Kim exchanged more than 25 letters and held three meetings: in Singapore (June 2018); Hanoi(February 2019); and Panmunjom, on the inter-Korean border(June 2019).The U.S.-DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] diplomacy was complemented--and at certain points facilitated--by increased diplomacy between North and South Korea. President Biden has indicated that he will seek to return to a more traditional diplomatic approach that emphasizes working-level talks. [...] If U.S.-DPRK talks restart, Members of Congress could debate the merits of the Biden Administration's apparent aim to push in the near term for incremental dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program in step with gradual sanctions relief, rather than trying for earlier and/or more extensive DPRK denuclearization concessions. The possibility of sanctions relief is complicated by, among other factors, U.S. legal requirements to address a range of security, regional stability, human rights, and governance issues before sanctions can be suspended or altogether terminated. U.S. sanctions on North Korea target not just weapons development but also human rights abuses, money laundering, weapons trade, international terrorism, and cyber operations. Members may also debate whether and how to push the Administration to more effectively shield humanitarian aid from the impact of sanctions."
CRS In Focus, IF11415
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/