North Korea to Halt Nuclear Activities

Country will receive food aid in return
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 29, 2012 8:28 AM CST
Updated Feb 29, 2012 11:44 AM CST
North Korea to Halt Nuclear Activities
In this Feb. 14, 2008, a researcher examines machining lathes that were used for machining uranium metal fuel rods and are now stored in in the fuel fabrication facility at Yongbyon Nuclear Center.   (AP Photo/W.K. Luse/HO, File)

North Korea will suspend uranium enrichment and has agreed to a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests; it has also agreed to allow International Atomic Energy Inspectors to verify and monitor the moratoriums and confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. Today's joint announcement suggests North Korea has met the key US preconditions for restarting multi-nation disarmament-for-aid talks from which Pyongyang withdrew in 2009. Before Kim Jong Il's death, the US and North Korea were close to such an agreement.

Hillary Clinton called the suspension of nuclear activities a "modest first step" but also "a reminder that the world is transforming around us." Clinton said the United States will meet with North Korea to finalize details for a proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of food aid, referring to it as "nutritional assistance." She said intensive monitoring of the aid would be required. Since 2006 North Korea has tested missiles, staged two nuclear tests, and unveiled a uranium enrichment program that could give it a second route to manufacture nuclear weapons, in addition to its existing plutonium-based program. Many observers remain skeptical as to whether North Korea will ever give up its nuclear program. (More North Korea stories.)

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