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"Korea is a safer place today than it was five years ago, with a reduced nuclear threat and improved dialogue between North and South. The United States applauds President Kim's efforts toward reconciliation."

President Clinton
State Visit of President Kim Dae-jung
June 9, 1998

President Clinton's goal of an Asia Pacific community grounded in peace, stability and prosperity is built on the U.S. and the Republic of Korea's (ROK/South Korea) shared interest in security, democracy and economic growth and in fostering a durable peace with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea). Working closely with both South Korea and Japan over the past eight years the Clinton Administration achieved significant progress towards meeting this goal by pursuing a three-pronged strategy of deterrence, through a robust American military presence in South Korea and close cooperation with our allies in the region; de-nuclearization, by enforcing North Korea's obligations to freeze its plutonium production at Yongbyon and dismantle its graphite moderated nuclear reactors; and diplomacy, aimed at easing tensions through multilateral negotiations and support for South Korea's efforts to engage North Korea. President Clinton laid the groundwork for peace on the Korean Peninsula, and worked toward the day when North Korea ends its isolation by building a more constructive relationship with South Korea and the international community. The June 13-15, 2000 summit meeting between ROK President Kim and North Korea's Kim Jong-il and the visit by DPRK Vice Marshal Cho Myong rok to Washington were important initial steps.


Strengthening Security

  • Strengthened the United States' security relationship with South Korea (ROK), including the forward deployment of 37,000 U.S. troops -- one of the important ways in which the Clinton Administration contributed to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. President Clinton reaffirmed his commitment to the U.S.-South Korea security treaty, one of five bilateral defense alliances that form the cornerstone of American engagement in the Asia Pacific. A cost-sharing agreement also provides for significant Korean support of U.S. military presence on the Peninsula. Additionally, the United States reached agreement to revise and strengthen its Status of Forces Agreement in December, 2000.
  • Initiated the Four Party Talks with former President Kim Young-sam this non-capitalization correct in April 1996 to reduce tensions on the Peninsula and replace the Armistice agreement with a permanent peace regime. The Parties, which include North and South Korea, China and the United States, met six times since December 1997. President Kim Dae-jung has endorsed the importance of the Four Party process
  • Launched a Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) with ROK and Japan in 1999 to ensure closer coordination of policy toward North Korea with our two principal allies in Northeast Asia. Originally conceived as a quarterly gathering of senior Korea policy officials, the TCOG has developed into a valuable consultation mechanism and has met almost monthly since its inception. Secretary Albright met with ROK and Japanese Foreign Ministers in Seoul following her trip to North Korea, October 23-25, 2000.
  • Supported ROK President Kim Dae-jung in his first-ever summit meeting in Pyongyang on June 13-15. Following up on that historic summit, the two Koreas have exchanged separated family visits, conducted ministerial-level talks and the North Korean Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee visited South Korea September 11-14, 2000. The North Korean Defense Minister also visited South Korea in an historic first of its kind meeting with his ROK counterpart. The United States hopes that implementation of agreements reached during the summit and subsequent high-level exchanges will result in a more stable and peaceful Korean peninsula.
  • Met with DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-il's Special Envoy, First Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission Cho Myong rok, in the White House October 10, 2000. This first-ever meeting between a President and a senior North Korean official has the potential for furthering President Clinton's goal of ending North Korea's isolation by building a more constructive relationship with South Korea and the international community. The meeting was supported by South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. As part of an effort to assess whether President Clinton should visit North Korea, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang, North Korea and met with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il.
  • Reached agreement in October 1994 on a framework with North Korea to freeze and eventually dismantle North Korea's plutonium-capable nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and Taechon. An international consortium oversees this process. Canning of spent fuel is virtually complete.
  • Held several rounds of bilateral missile talks with North Korea since 1996, in which the United States has pressed for an end to the DPRK's possession and export of missiles. During Secretary Albright's trip to Pyongyang, high level discussions on the cessation of the North's missile and missile export program was held. Follow-on discussions took place November 1-3, 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Encouraging Dialogue with North Korea

  • North Korea Policy Coordinator William Perry completed, with extensive consultation with the ROK and Japan, a comprehensive policy review and recommended that, while maintaining a strong deterrent capability, the United States embark on a path of increased contact with North Korea, aimed at addressing U.S. concerns about North Korean nuclear and missile programs.
  • Held bilateral talks that yielded a North Korean pledge in September 1999 to refrain from long-range missile testing while discussions to improve U.S.-North Korea relations continue. The North reiterated this moratorium in June 2000 and again in a Joint Communique that was issued following Vice Marshal Cho Myong rok's visit to Washington October 9-12, 2000.
  • Reached agreement with North Korea on addressing concerns that an underground facility at Kumchang-ni was nuclear-related. A U.S. team of experts visited the site in May 1999 and in May 2000, and determined the site was not intended and is not being used for nuclear purposes.
  • Placed priority on efforts to advance the Clinton Administration's goal of the fullest possible accounting for POW/MIAs from the Korean War have been underway since 1996. Through October 2000, twelve joint recovery operations with North Korea were completed with 42 sets of remains recovered. In June 2000, the United States and North Korea agreed to conduct five more recovery operations in the last half of 2000. Operations in 2000 have yielded an additional 65 sets of remains, for a total of 107 sets of remains recovered.

Providing Humanitarian Assistance to North Korea

  • Provided aid that was a critical factor in stemming a humanitarian tragedy in North Korea. In 1998 and 1999, U.S. aid pledged to North Korea bilaterally and through the World Food Program totaled 1.1 million tons of food assistance, comprising more than 80 percent of the aid the international community sent there through multilateral efforts. In 2000, the United States continued its humanitarian assistance and was substantially joined by South Korea that pledged 600,000 tons of food and Japan that pledged 500,000 tons of food.
  • Eased a wide range of sanctions on trade with and investment in North Korea since 1995 After the Agreed Framework came into force, the United States initially lifted a few sanctions, to included allowing U.S. companies and individuals to provide humanitarian medical and food assistance. Later, the United States allowed airlines to pay fees for use of North Korean controlled air space. In 2000, several sanctions under the President's authority were lifted after the put in place a long-range missile moratorium.

Promoting South Korea's Economic Progress

  • Supported President Kim's initial structural reforms and closely consulted with ROK authorities throughout the crisis. South Korea's economy has shown a remarkable recovery from the financial crisis of late 1997.
  • Signed a Social Security Agreement with the Republic of Korea, which will eliminate duplicate Social Security contributions and fill in gaps in Social Security protection for people who have worked in both countries.


December 2000 President Clinton determines that there is insufficient time remaining in his Administration to prepare the way for an agreement with North Korea that advances the national interest and provides the basis for a trip to
October 2000 President Clinton sends Secretary Albright to Pyongyang, North Korea as his Special Envoy to discuss North Korea's missile restraint proposal and to assess whether a trip by the President to North Korea is possible and in the best interests of the peace and stability on the peninsula.
October 2000 President Clinton meets DPRK Special Envoy, First Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission Cho Myong rok at the White House.
June 2000 President Clinton's economic sanctions easing goes into effect. North Korea reiterates its September 1999 moratorium on missile testing. Agreement reached on next phase of POW/MIA joint recovery operations.
September 1999 In response to the DPRK's suspension of long-range missile tests, President Clinton announces his intention to further ease economic sanctions against North Korea as a step toward improved relations as provided for in the Agreed Framework.
May 1999 Presidential Special Envoy William J. Perry visits Pyongyang before making final recommendations on our policy toward the North. He carries with him a letter from President Clinton to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
June 1998 President Clinton and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung sign an extradition treaty, making it more difficult for fugitives to escape justice. The Senate ratifies the treaty in November 1999.
April 1996 President Clinton and South Korean President Kim Young-sam ) propose Four Party Korean Peace Talks to include North and South Korea, China, and the United States, with the goals of tension reduction and a permanent peace regime.


Statement by the President, December 28, 2000.

"Joint Communique," October 12, 2000.

"Joint Statement on Terrorism," October 6, 2000.

"Easing Sanctions Against North Korea," Fact Sheet: September 17, 1999.

Press Conference by President Clinton and President Kim Dae-jung, November 21, 1998.

Press Conference by President Clinton and President Kim of South Korea, June 9, 1998.

Press Conference by President Clinton and President Kim, April 16, 1996.

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