The United States and North Korea signed a memorandum during talks last month by which Pyongyang would begin closing a nuclear reactor while the U.S. starts providing energy assistance, a major Japanese newspaper reported Thursday.
In the memorandum of understanding, North Korea agreed to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor as a step toward denuclearization, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, citing U.S. and North Korean officials which it did not further identify. In exchange, the United States would begin assisting the North with energy.
The paper said the memorandum, which apparently would require further agreement, also included a provision for the North to accept nuclear inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
New round of negotiations on North Korea's nuclear disarmament is set to begin Thursday following a December meeting that ended in stalemate. But since then, signs have emerged a greater willingness to compromise.
North Korean negotiator Kim Kye GwanKim told visiting Americans last week that Pyongyang also is demanding normal relations with the United States and supplies of electricity or heavy fuel oil, said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.