US to give $25 million to North Korea for fuel aid

Move part of agreement communist regime made with US and other nations pushing it to dismantle its nuclear program.

September 28, 2007 23:34
2 minute read.
US to give $25 million to North Korea for fuel aid

kim jon il missile pic . (photo credit: )

The United States on Friday announced it would spend up to $25 million to pay for 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil for North Korea - part of an agreement the communist regime made with the US and other nations pushing it to dismantle its nuclear program. Under a February agreement, the US and other participants in the six-party negotiations with Pyongyang agreed to provide North Korea with 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil, or the monetary equivalent in other aid and assistance. In return, North Korea agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor, which it did in July, and then declare and ultimately dismantle all its nuclear programs. The order, which President George W. Bush signed after consultations with Congress last week, comes a day after the six-party talks on disabling North Korea's nuclear program resumed in Beijing. Christopher Hill, the chief US envoy to the talks, said the negotiations were entering an important phase. North Korea has described this round of negotiations as make-or-break. North Korea has met its commitments to date with respect to shutting down the Yongbyon facilities and allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency to do monitoring and verification work, said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House. The United States is now pressing for rapid implementation of the next phase of the agreement in which North Korea has agreed to provide a complete declaration of all its nuclear programs and disable all its existing nuclear facilities, he said. China, the US, South Korea and Russia agreed to provide aid, although Moscow may contribute in the form of debt relief. Japan has refused to provide aid until Pyongyang fully accounts for the abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea. South Korea provided 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in July. Earlier this month, China said it had delivered a shipment of oil to North Korea amid a series of efforts to keep talks on disabling North Korean nuclear programs on track. China, which is North Korea's primary provider of trade and aid, has typically used deliveries of oil as an inducement to persuade its politically isolated, economically strapped communist ally to take part in the six-party talks. The hard-line regime expelled UN monitors in late 2002, shutting its nuclear activities to outside view. But, after exploding a test atomic bomb last October, North Korea agreed four months later to scrap its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the economic and political concessions.

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