The United States and North Korea have agreed to a deal in which the Us would provide food aid to the North Koreans in return for a complete suspension of Uranium enrichment and a halt to ballistic missile testing and development. This agreement and dual announcement by the two nations make real a possibility that multi-nation food for weapons deal can be reached with the North Koreans.
Just two months after the death of Kim Jun Il the country’s long serving dictator and the transfer of power to his son, Kim Jong Un, the deal fell short of what the Americans wanted which was an abandonment of the nuclear weapons program. The North Koreans will probably never agree to such a deal as the regime can’t survive without it.
North Korea as part of the deal has agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to monitor compliance.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the US agreed to send 240,000 metric tons of food aid, referring to it as “nutritional assistance.” She said that the North will be responsible for allowing intensive monitoring of the aid in order to ensure it isn’t diverted to the military. Secretary Clinton said that additional aid was possible depending on need.
The U.S. still has nearly 30,000 troops based in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the divided Korean Peninsula formally in a state of war.
Baek Seung-joo, of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in South Korea, said,
“North Korea uses (the nuclear program) as leverage to win concessions in return for disarmament measures. Since Kim Jong Il’s death, it has called (the program) the country’s most important achievement. There is still a long way to go.”
The IAEA confirmed it was ready to return to North Korea to resume its monitoring activities as soon as requested by the United Nations.
North Korea, in its announcement of the deal, said this was the first step towards multinational talks which could lead to a relaxation of sanctions against the North.
What do you think about the deal between the United States and North Korea?