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.


(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)