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 Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid