US sees 'progress' on aid talks with North Korea
BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
A Chinese paramilitary police guards the entrance to the North Korean embassy where talks between U.S. and North Korean officials are expected to take place in Beijing, China, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. AP PhotoNegotiations today between the United States and North Korea on how to organize a supply of food aid to the communist state have "made progress", a top US diplomat said.
"These issues are complicated and we had some discussions. We had two very good sessions today, we discussed a number of the issues, made progress," Robert King, the US envoy on human rights in North Korea, told reporters in Beijing.
The discussions in the Chinese capital are to sort out the details of how to deliver the 240,000 tonnes of food aid announced by Washington after Pyongyang agreed to a moratorium on its nuclear activities.
"We still have issues to resolve and will be meeting tomorrow to deal with those issues," King said.
Washington announced late February that North Korea had agreed to freeze its nuclear and missile tests and uranium enrichment programme.
North Korea has also accepted the return of inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to oversee the moratorium on uranium enrichment.
The United States in turn pledged to provide 240,000 tonnes of food assistance to be delivered to the most needy in North Korea.
The North has relied on international help to feed its people since a famine in the 1990s killed hundreds of thousands.
The surprise agreement between Pyongyang and Washington was reached in Beijing during the first contact between the two sides since Kim Jong-Un took power in late December following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il.
The discussions were aimed at persuading the North to return to the six-nation denuclearisation talks after it angrily abandoned them in April 2009 and staged its second atomic weapons test a month later.
The two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia and the United States have been talking for months about ways to revive the discussions.