North Korea to halt nuclear activities, allow inspections for food aid
US will send 240,000 tons of food aid to the impoverished country.
US officials announced on Wednesday that North Korea will suspend its nuclear activities and accept a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. The breakthrough is the product of low-key negotiations with the communist nation.
North Korea has accepted that one cannot eat weapons and may be ready to make swords into plowshares.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nunland told reporters that North Korea will now permit Atomic Energy Agency inspectors into the country to monitor and verify the moratorium on enrichment and to confirm the disabling of the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
In exchange for these concessions, the US is making arrangements to send 240,000 metric tons of food aid. The details of the US report has been corroborated by similar reports by the North Korean media.
While the North Korean reports were worded differently, with that nation's typical propaganda spin, the tone was still positive, a departure from previous, more hostile verbiage. The statement said that North Korea had agreed to the moratoriums and inspections "with a view to maintaining positive atmosphere" for talks with the US.
Apparently, the low-key talks have been ongoing for some time. Talks resumed in Beijing last week and were the first since the death of Kim Jong Il. However, before the dictator's death, officials say they were close to a similar accord with the dictator's regime.
The current agreement meets the six-nation preconditions outlined three years ago. Those talks were eventually suspended.
Nunland commented, "The United States still has profound concerns regarding North Korean behavior across a wide range of areas, but today's announcement reflects important, if limited, progress in addressing some of these."
Nunland also affirmed that the US does not have hostile intent toward North Korea and that the US "is prepared to take steps to improve our bilateral relationship in the spirit of mutual respect for sovereignty and equality."
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