North, South Korea make oil-for-denuclearization pact

South Korea will provide North Korea the energy equivalent of as much as 50,000 tonnes of fuel oil in exchange for taking initial denuclearization steps under the so-called Six-Party Framework Agreement.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Mar. 16 -- South Korea will provide North Korea the energy equivalent of as much as 50,000 tonnes of fuel oil in exchange for taking initial denuclearization steps under the so-called Six-Party Framework Agreement, which involves North and South Korea, the US, China, Japan, and Russia.

Junichi Ihara, deputy director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau, told reporters that the decision was reached Mar. 15 in Beijing at the meeting of the Six-Party Talks' working group on economic and energy assistance to North Korea.

According to Joon Yung-woo, South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, the task of the working group is to determine detailed plans and specific means of providing economic, energy, and humanitarian assistance to the North as agreed in the Feb. 13 agreement.

He was referring to the nuclear deal signed in Beijing, under which North Korea—in exchange for heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid—agreed to shut down and seal its nuclear reactors.

One of main priorities of the working group is to decide how the countries will sequence the provision of energy aid to the north with the communist nation's shutdown of its nuclear facilities.

South Korean officials, speaking anonymously, said the actions would have to take place "simultaneously."

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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