North Korea cuts a $300 million USD deal with the U.S.

This week, North Korea reached a landmark agreement with the U.S. to disarm itself of nuclear weapons production and testing. The communist government of North Korea had long been in the dark about its nuclear initiatives and had even threatened to use nuclear missiles on foreign countries. The country was also in a long standing cold-war with its southern neighbor, South Korea for several decades. With the new deal however, North Korea will take steps to disassemble its nuclear program in exchange for U.S. help in fuel.

The agreement setup between North Korea and the U.S. also involves neighboring countries China, Japan, South Korea and Russia. North Korea will have roughly 60 days to disarm itself and must remain open to international inspection. U.S. president George W. Bush said today that these were "first steps" in a larger plan to create a more stable North Korea on a global scale. Despite this, several of Bush advisors previously suggested that the U.S. along with several other countries put pressure on North Korea until its economy collapsed, forcing it out of any nuclear production capabilities. The move was later scraped citing concerns from South Korea, China and Japan indicating that the move would only bring large waves of refugees.

Under the plan, North Korea will receive roughly $300 million USD worth of fuel oil if it successfully completes its nuclear disarmament. President Bush also discussed the possibility of removing North Korea from current international trade sanctions that limited its economic growth potential. In total, North Korea will receive 100,000 tonnes of fuel oil if it cooperates. Many analysts are saying that while that deal seems great, there is a large amount of distrust between North Korea and its fuel donors. North Korea abandoned a deal with the U.S. previously when Bill Clinton was in office.

Chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill told reporters that the U.S. would watch over this deal very carefully. "Any action to restart the reactors would be a violation of the agreement," Hill said. Hill did not discuss what course of action the U.S. would take if North Korea restarted its nuclear program after it had received all 100,000 tonnes of fuel oil. Despite the questions, President Bush welcomed the support from North Korea officials. "These talks represent the best opportunity to use diplomacy to address North Korea's nuclear programs. They reflect the common commitment of the participants to a Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons," Bush said in a statement.

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