North Korea agreed on Tuesday to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually disarm its atomic-weapons programme. The decision comes just four months after it shocked the world by testing a nuclear bomb.
The two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia reached the agreement after talks that began last week in Beijing. The agreement marks the first concrete plan for disarmament in more than three years of the six-nation negotiations, and could potentially herald a new era of economic cooperation and security in northeast Asia.
Under the agreement, North Korea will receive an initial aid equivalent to 50,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil within 60 days for shutting down and sealing the Yongbyon reactor complex, which is at the heart of its nuclear programme. It will also allow international inspectors on to the site as part of the initial disarmament plan.
The communist state will receive another 950,000 tonnes of fuel oil or the equivalent in aid when it takes further steps to irreversibly disable its nuclear capabilities. Meanwhile, Pyongyang and the US have also agreed to begin bilateral talks to resolve pending issues and establish diplomatic relations, a joint statement said.