ACCESSION NUMBER:375521 FILE ID:EPF503 DATE:01/20/95 TITLE:U.S. EASES SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA (01/20/95) TEXT:*95012001.EPF *EPF503 01/20/95 U.S. EASES SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA (Article on 1/20/95 State Dept. background briefing) (450) By Jane A. Morse USIA Staff Writer Washington, Jan. 20 -- The State Department announced today that the United States is easing sanctions against North Korea. The steps are in compliance with the Agreed Framework worked out with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea signed in October 1994 and in response to North Korea's decision to freeze its nuclear program and facilities. In early January this year, as part of the agreement, North Korea lifted its sanctions against U.S. port calls and the purchase of American products. The U.S. response is to authorize transactions related to telephone and telecommunications connections between North Korea and the United States. U.S. companies will be free to approach the DPRK government with offers to establish telecommunications links, but whatever proposals result will have to be approved by the U.S. government, State Department officials explained in a background briefing. Phone calls to North Korea can now be placed through third-parties and directly as U.S. facilities are put in place, the officials said. Certain travel to North Korea by U.S. citizens will be allowed, as will credit cart use in connection with personal travel. In addition the limits on personal expenditures while in North Korea will be lifted. U.S. journalists and news agencies will be allowed to establish offices in North Korea, and North Korean journalists will be allowed greater access in the United States. But State Department officials stressed that American treatment of North Korean journalists will depend on the access given to American journalists in the DPRK. "The U.S. government's intentions is to promote the exchange of information," a State Department official said. The U.S. government will also authorize the DPRK to use the U.S. banking system to clear transactions not originating or terminating in the United States. It will also unblock frozen assets now in the United States -- estimated at up to $11 million -- for "innocent third parties" where there is no DPRK government interest. The U.S. will also authorize imports from the DPRK of magnesite, which is used to coat the inside of blast furnaces in the production of steel. This represents about $5 to $10 million per year in trade, the U.S. officials said. The DPRK has made no official response to the U.S. announcement, but State officials said that initial North Korean press reports indicated a very 1avorable response. U.S. officials emphasized, however, that much more progress needs to be made by North Korea on issues such as terrorism and missile sales before further thawing in economic relations can take place. NNNN .