The Reagan administration is listing five areas in which it says North Korea could respond constructively to a series of unilateral U.S. measures aimed at easing tensions on the peninsula.
State Department spokesman Charles Redman said Monday that the United States is relaxing some trade, travel and diplomatic restrictions against North Korea in support of efforts by South Korea to promote greater stability in the area.Redman said the United States is looking for a "positive, constructive response" from the North Koreans.
Specifically, he said, the United States is seeking signs of North Korean flexibility in the fledgling north-south dialogue and a willingness to provide more information on the thousands of American servicemen still unaccounted for since the Korean War.
Redman said at the end of the conflict there were 8,177 American soldiers listed as missing, although that figure also includes servicemen whose remains were recovered by the U.S. military but for whom positive identification was not possible. A year ago, North Korea said it had uncovered the remains of five U.S. servicemen.
The spokesman said North Korea also could show good faith by "eliminating vicious anti-American propaganda," by cooperating in confidence-building measures in the demilitarized zone and by ending its alleged support for international terrorism.
He said any discussion of the withdrawal of the 40,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea would be premature.
The South Korean government welcomed the U.S. statement, saying it hoped the moves would promote dialogue between the two Koreas.
The United States and North Korea have had a record of almost uninterrupted hostility since the Korean armistice was signed 35 years ago, and the steps announced Monday appear to represent the most ambitious effort to date to achieve a more harmonious relationship. The warfare claimed the lives of more than 33,000 American servicemen.
Redman said the United States will encourage unofficial, non-governmental visits from North Korea in academics, sports, culture and other areas.