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Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 18:28 UK

US resumes North Korea food aid

USAID supplies in Rayong, Thailand, on 14 May 2008
The US suspended food aid to North Korea in 2005

The US has announced a resumption for the first time in three years of food aid to North Korea, which is believed to be facing famine this year.

The US government's development arm, USAID, said over the next year it will provide half a million tonnes of food.

The move comes days after Pyongyang handed US negotiators documents detailing its past nuclear activities.

The US said it was satisfied the aid would reach those in need, rather than be siphoned off to North Korean elites.

"The two sides have agreed on terms for a substantial improvement in monitoring and access in order to allow for confirmation of receipt by the intended recipients," a USAID statement said on Friday.

Aid agencies have warned North Korea is threatened this summer by famine - a decade after up to one million of its people died of starvation.

The Americans gave food aid to North Korea from 1995 to 2005, when it was suspended after Pyongyang expelled representatives of the World Food Programme.

The White House said the renewal of food aid was unrelated to its nuclear disarmament negotiations with North Korea.

Pyongyang reached a deal last year with the US, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea to end its nuclear programme in return for large-scale aid and the lifting of US sanctions.

The communist state last summer shut down its Yongbyon reactor, which is thought to have produced the material for a nuclear test in 2006.

But it failed to meet a deadline at the end of last year to give a full account of its nuclear activities.

On Tuesday, Pyongyang submitted documents on its plutonium programme to US negotiators but there were no details on its alleged uranium enrichment research.


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