Just two months after the death of Kim Jong Il, North Korea is signaling that it wants to improve ties with the United States and get some much-needed assistance.

The North has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and long-range missile tests. The announcements today from both sides could clear the way for a resumption of multi-nation talks under which North Korea would disarm in exchange for aid.

But today's agreement still falls short of a promise to abandon the nuclear weapons program that North Korea may view as key to the survival of the regime.

In a key concession, North Korea says it will let U.N. inspectors verify and monitor a moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at its main nuclear complex.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. will meet with North Korea to finalize details for a proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of food aid. She says there will have to be strict monitoring of the aid -- a reflection of U.S. concerns that the food could be diverted to North Korea's military.

Today's announcement follows talks in Beijing last week between U.S. and North Korean negotiators.

 

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