U.S., North envoys meet to iron out food aid plan

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U.S., North envoys meet to iron out food aid plan

Diplomats from North Korea and the United States plan to meet in Beijing next week to discuss “technical” issues in implementing Washington’s promise to provide 240,000 tons of “nutritional assistance,” according to the U.S.

Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights, will meet a North Korean counterpart on Wednesday, according to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland on Friday.

“The idea is to finalize all of the technical arrangements so that the nutritional assistance can begin to move,” Nuland said. “My understanding is we’re down to issues like what port, when, who manages it, how do we count, how do we monitor.”

She did not reveal the name of King’s counterpart. A diplomatic source here said the North is expected to send Ri Gun, director general for North American affairs at North Korea’s foreign ministry.

Earlier this week, Washington and Pyongyang announced that they reached a nuclear and food aid deal, under which the communist nation will freeze its uranium enrichment facility in Yongbyon, allow monitoring by international inspectors and put a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests as long as dialogue with the U.S. is under way.

The U.S. agreed to ship 240,000 tons of food, excluding rice and grain, to the North over a year. The last handouts ended abruptly in 2009 when North Korea expelled U.S. food monitors.

Meanwhile, a top North Korean nuclear envoy plans to attend a meeting hosted by an American foreign policy think tank following a seminar at Syracuse University this week, a U.S. diplomatic source said Saturday. North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho plans to visit New York from Wednesday until Friday for an academic forum sponsored by the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, according to the State Department. The school’s dean is James Steinberg, a former deputy secretary of state. Yonhap

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