A bit of optimism surfaces—as North Korea agrees to comply with the beginning steps of a deal proposed by U.S. officials. According to CNN.com, the agreement was reached on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, and is the first agreement between the two countries in five years. It is also the first contract with the U.S. under Kim Jong-un’s leadership.
Still, the Obama administration is hesitant to celebrate this negotiation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the NY Times, “The United States… still has profound concerns. [This] announcement represents a modest first step in the right direction.” The Times also quoted a U.S. State Department official who further warned these agreements “merely unlock the door [to resume negotiations with North Korea]. We can’t allow the same patterns of the past to repeat themselves.”
The new agreement between the United States and North Korea is a two-way compromise. As reported by the LA Times, this unexpectedly reached negotiation incorporates an arrangement for North Korea to stop long-range missile tests in exchange for more than five-hundred million pounds (240,000 metric tons) of food aid.
What’s more, according to the deal’s specifics elaborated by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on CNN.com, North Korea will allow for “IAEA inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities…and confirm the disablement of the 5-MV reactor and associated facilities.”
In addition to food aid exchange for this agreement, a Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman tells CNN: “The U.S. also agreed to take steps to increase people-to-people exchanges, including in the areas of culture, education, and sports.”
In reality, it is far too early to know the outcome of this agreement. Still, the U.S. is cautiously hopeful this is a positive sign for more peaceful negotiations to come.
Photo by marcn.