U.S. and North Korean officials meet to seal food aid deal
U.S. and North Korean officials are meeting Wednesday in Beijing to settle the details of a plan to allow the resumption of food aid to the North.
The talks take place against a backdrop of bellicose images and rhetoric from Pyongyang. North Korean television this week aired footage of a military unit carrying out live fire-drills in-sight of a South Korean Island.
Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, is holding talks with representatives from Pyongyang on Wednesday to “finalize all of the technical arrangements so that the nutritional assistance can begin to move,” according to the U.S. State Department.
North Korea last week announced an agreement to freeze its nuclear and missile tests, along with uranium enrichment programs, and allow the return of U.N. nuclear inspectors. The United States said it would provide 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance to the impoverished country.
The United States had suspended shipments of food aid to North Korea in 2009 amid tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear program and concerns that the supplies were not reaching those most in need.
The deal last week to resume the deliveries came after the the two countries revived negotiations that had stalled after the death in December of the longtime North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.