|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
North Korea agreed Tuesday after arduous talks to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons program, just four months after the communist state shocked the world by testing a nuclear bomb.
The deal marks the first concrete plan for disarmament in more than three years of six-nation negotiations, and could potentially herald a new era of cooperation in the region with the North's longtime foes -- the United States and Japan -- also agreeing to discuss normalizing relations with Pyongyang.
Under the deal, the North will receive initial aid equal to 50,000 tons heavy fuel oil within 60 days for shutting down and sealing its main nuclear reactor and related facilities at Yongbyon, north of the capital, to be confirmed by international inspectors.
For irreversibly disabling the reactor and declaring all nuclear programs, the North will eventually receive another 950,000 tons in aid.
The agreement was read to all delegates in a conference room at a Chinese state guesthouse and Chinese envoy Wu Dawei asked if there were any objections. When none were made, the officials all stood and applauded.
The main U.S. nuclear envoy said Washington was satisfied with an agreement on initial steps for North Korea to disarm but called it just the start of the process.
''Obviously we have a long way to go, but we're very pleased with this agreement,'' Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters. ''It's a very solid step forward.''
North Korea and United States also will embark on talks aimed at resolving disputes and restarting diplomatic relations, Wu said. The Korean peninsula has technically remained in a state of war for more than a half-century since the Korean War ended in a 1953 cease-fire.
The United States will begin the process of removing North Korea from its designation as a terror-sponsoring state and also on ending U.S. trade sanctions, but no deadlines was set, according to the agreement.