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Conflict & Tragedy

North Korea agrees to halt nuclear program in exchange for food aid from U.S.

Feb. 29, 2012

North Korea has agreed to suspend its nuclear weapons program in exchange for massive food donations from the United States, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton told a congressional hearing Wednesday in Washington that the communist country, long isolated from the international community, has agreed to a moratorium on nuclear-related activity at Yongbyon. North Korea also will grant inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency access to monitor the deactivation of a nuclear reactor and to confirm that it keeps up its end of the agreement.

The U.S. has agreed to send some 240,000 metric tons of food aid, which Clinton referred to as “nutritional assistance.” Clinton also called the agreement “a modest first step in the right direction.”

The United States still has about 30,000 troops in South Korea and has had a presence in the Korean Peninsula since the end 1950-53 Korean War. No peace treaty has been signed between North and South Korea; all peace talks have failed.

Since the ceasefire of July 27, 1953, there have been many incursions and attacks by the North Korean army, with two attacks occurring as late as 2010.

In 2010, a North Korean submarine sunk the South Korean corvette ROKS Cheonan with a torpedo, killing 46. North Korea also fired artillery on the South Korean Yeonpyeong island, killing two military and two civilians.

South Korean and U.S. forces have discovered four incursion tunnels that North Korea dug under the DMZ leading to Seoul, and two U.S. military officers were killed by the North Koreans in 1974.

North Korea maintains to this day that it had won the war against the United Nations and U.S. troops in 1953.

SOURCES:

CBS News, Feb. 29, 2012

CIA Factbook entry on North Korea

Wikipedia entry on North Korea

Clinton says North Korea move a step in the right direction, Reuters, Feb. 29, 2012