The United States government is planning to review sanctions and travel ban imposed on North Korea. The aim is to ensure that they do not limit humanitarian aid to the country living under serious international economic sanctions.
Stephen Biegun, United States’ Special Representative for North Korea, , made the disclosure on Wednesday after arriving in Seoul for four days of meetings with South Korean officials.
Aid groups have complained that strict enforcement of sanctions imposed on North Korea has been delaying and, in some cases, preventing delivery of aid to the impoverished country.
â€œIâ€™ll be sitting down with American aid groups early in the new year to discuss how we can better ensure the delivery of appropriate assistance,â€ Biegun said.
North Korea’s current sanctions are largely concerned with its nuclear weapons programme and were imposed after its first nuclear test in 2006.
The U.S. Department of Treasury sanctioned North Korea since the 1950s. Sanctions against North Korea further tightened with international bombings against South Korea by North Korean agents during the 1980s.
In 1988, the U.S. added North Korea to the Department of Stateâ€™s list of state sponsors of international terrorism.
North Korea continued its nuclear programme and officially withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003, with other countries reinstating various sanctions.
Additional sanctions and United Nations Security Council Resolutions were imposed after North Korea performed nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and, more recently in 2016 and 2017.
Initially, sanctions focused on trade bans on weapon-related materials and goods, but expanded to luxury goods to target the elite.
Further sanctions expanded to financial assets and banking transactions, and general travel and trade.