News / Asia

N. Korea to End Nuclear Tests for Food Aid

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called North Korea's agreement to suspend nuclear activities and accept a moratorium on testing 'a modest step' in the right direction, as she testified before a House panel, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called North Korea's agreement to suspend nuclear activities and accept a moratorium on testing 'a modest step' in the right direction, as she testified before a House panel, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb.

Multimedia

Audio
William Ide

North Korea has agreed to temporarily suspend nuclear tests, long-range ballistic missile launches and other nuclear activities, including enrichment of uranium.  U.S. and North Korean officials announced the surprise breakthrough after talks in Beijing.

The announcement came just a little more than two months after the death of the secretive communist state's supreme leader Kim Jong Il.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that while there still are profound concerns about North Korea's behavior, the announcement reflects progress. "On the occasion of Kim Jong Il's death, I said that it is our hope that the new leadership will choose to guide their nation on to the path to peace by living up to its obligations. Today's announcement represents a modest first step in the right direction," she said.

Ambassador Stephen Bosworth was the Special Representative of the United States for North Korea Policy from March of 2009 until October of last year.

In that role, he was the chief negotiator for the United States with the North Koreans. Ambassador Bosworth is now the Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

VOA's Ira Mellman asked him if the newest agreement is the same as he had reached with the North Koreans before the death of Kim Jong Il.

The White House also welcomed the announcement, calling it a "positive step," but stressed that the U.S. is looking for North Korea to follow through with action.

Washington says it is ready to move forward with plans to provide the North with 240,000 metric tons of food aid over a period of a year. The two sides still need to work out the details before deliveries of the aid can begin.

Floods and a poor harvest last year have caused widespread hunger in North Korea.  In the 1990s, the impoverished state suffered a major famine, which is believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of people.

U.S. and North Korean officials say that in addition to a moratorium on missile and nuclear tests, the North has agreed to allow United Nations inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency access to nuclear facilities so they can verify and monitor the suspension of uranium enrichment activities.

IAEA inspectors were kicked out of North Korea in 2009 when the country withdrew from the so-called six-party talks on ending its atomic weapons program.

According to the new agreement, Pyongyang will allow inspectors access to its main facility at Yongbyon and other nuclear sites.  U.S. officials also say inspectors will confirm the disabling of the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon and its related facilities.

A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity says the steps North Korea has now agreed to, open the door to serious negotiations and wider talks on ending its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. It raised new concerns when it confirmed that it had a uranium enrichment program, in November of 2010. The uranium program could give the North another way to make nuclear weapons in addition to its longstanding plutonium-based program.  

Analysts say that while the steps North Korea has agreed to are moving in the right direction, the announcement is not a significant breakthrough.

"A cynical take on it would be that the U.S. is paying additional economic benefits simply for North Korea's agreement to affirm previous agreements that it has already signed its name to three times in the six-party talks," said Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Washington D.C.-based Heritage Foundation. "That said, it does provide a means for perhaps re-opening the diplomatic route, but overall there is very little optimism in the Executive Branch and both parties in Congress and experts both within and outside of government that even a resumption of the six-party talks will be successful in the sense of getting North Korea to actually give up their nuclear weapons."

The announcement comes just days after U.S. and North Korean representatives met in China to discuss the resumption of the six-party talks.  The meeting was the first since the authoritarian state transferred power to Kim Jong Il's untested young son Kim Jong Un.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid