USA*ENGAGE Supports Administration Initiative to Engage North Korea

Friday, 17 September 1999

"While today's action is clearly not an endorsement of the North Korean regime, it makes sense on practical and humanitarian grounds," said Frank Kittredge, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "The United States has attempted to affect change in North Korea through isolation for nearly 50 years -- yet this policy has not promoted positive change. Limited trade and engagement is a step that has a reasonable chance of bringing North Korea into the community of nations."

Kittredge noted that the Clinton Administration's special envoy to North Korea, former Defense Secretary William Perry, stated before Congress that "1999 may represent historically one of our best opportunities to deal with U.S. security concerns regarding North Korea for some time to come."

"Engagement at all levels -- diplomatic, economic, charitable, religious, educational and cultural -- can be a powerful influence. At the very least, opening avenues of trade will likely help ease the horrendous conditions faced by the North Korean people, and is the right thing to do," Kittredge concluded.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad.