Deal Reached to End Pyongyang's Nuclear Weapons Program

Delegates to talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons have reached an agreement on steps toward dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programs. VOA's Kurt Achin reports from Beijing, where the six-nation talks have wrapped up.

The senior Chinese negotiator at the talks, Wu Dawei, closed Tuesday's final session by congratulating the six nations for the progress they made toward ending a long dispute over North Korea's nuclear weapons.

Wu Dawei then spelled out the agreement they reached after six days of meetings.

Wu says North Korea agrees to shut down its main nuclear facility at Yongbyon, permit the re-entry of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, and fully declare all nuclear material it possesses.

Wu says North Korea can expect to receive energy in exchange for its cooperation.

If it meets deadlines for dismantling its nuclear production, North Korea receives 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil from the other nations in the talks - China, Russia, South Korea, Japan and the United States.

As Pyongyang goes even further in scrapping its nuclear weapons programs, the agreement provides for far more substantial energy aid, up to 950,000 tons of oil.

However, reports out of Japan indicate that although Tokyo backs the agreement, it will not donate oil to North Korea. Japan has indicated it wants to resolve its dispute with Pyongyang over its kidnapping of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s before it begins donating aid.

Tuesday's agreement outlines diplomatic goals as well. It calls for North Korea to hold talks with both Japan and the United States toward eventually normalizing diplomatic relations with those countries. Although there is no deadline, the agreement calls on Washington to work toward removing North Korea from an U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

The agreement marks a rare breakthrough in the six-party process, which until now had failed to achieve tangible progress on the North Korean nuclear issue for three years. North Korea tested its first nuclear explosive device last October.