The United States has announced a deal with North Korea to provide 500,000 metric tons of food aid to the communist nation over the next year.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. Agency for International Development said the sides agreed on a framework that will allow the World Food Program and U.S. non-governmental agencies broad geographic access to populations in need.

It said the agreement will also allow the agencies to effectively monitor the distribution of U.S. commodities.

The U.S. halted food aid to North Korea in 2005 over concerns about distribution. Pyongyang would not provide the access necessary to show that food was reaching those in need.

The United States has been the largest single provider of food aid to North Korea in recent years, starting with the North Korean flood-related famine of the 1990s. Washington has said that the food aid issue is unrelated to talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.