North Korea Halts Nuclear Program For Food


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 22:33 PM EDT, 29 February 2012

Trident II MissileWASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday 29 February 2012, the United States and North Korea have reached a nuclear disarmament agreement which hopefully signals a new era of open access to a country that grew increasingly insular under the iron rule of Kim Jong Il.

Under Kim Jong-un's leadership this move seems to signify North Korea's willingness to admit that it is in desperate need of international food aid. This deal, once finalized, will result in the delivery of 240,000 metric tons of food aid.

In the 1990's the country was hit by famine and more than 1 million North Koreans starved to death. Following Kim Jong Ils refusal to participate in nuclear disarmament talks, sanctions against the nation were devastating for the populace but left the ruling elite unscathed.

Stories of 'people eating grass,' were reported and the UN's World Food Programme said in a statement that "North Korea faces its worst food shortage in a decade, with six million people at risk - a consequence of poor economic management of its centrally planned system, a series of bad harvests caused by harsh winters, flooding and exhausted agricultural land, and the regime's unwillingness to spend its dwindling hard currency reserves on buying food for its 24 million people."

In 2009, under his father's leadership, North Korea withdrew from the negotiations and increased its nuclear testing program and refused entry to the country by International Atomic Energy (IAE) Inspectors. As a prerequisite for assistance, the North Korean government must reengage with the 6 nations disarmament talks which were suspended 3 years ago.

The agreement between the US and North Korea will require the immediate suspension of nuclear activities, a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests, and unfettered entry into the country by IAE inspectors so they can verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment and confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

The announcement follows talks in Beijing last week between U.S. and North Korean negotiators, the first since negotiations were suspended after Kim's death in December from a heart attack.'