US to send 500k tons of food to NKorea

May 16, 2008 10:10:36 AM PDT
The United States says it has reached a deal with North Korea to provide 500,000 metric tons of food aid to the closed-off communist nation over the coming year. The State Department announced the agreement Friday after weeks of talks about how the food would be distributed. The United States wants assurances that food won't be diverted or used improperly by the government of Kim Jong Il. The U.N. has warned that North Korea urgently needs outside aid to avert a worse humanitarian disaster.

The U.S. says it's unsure how much the deal will cost, because prices will depend on such variables as the costs of food and shipping, both of which are rising fast.

The Bush administration says the aid is unrelated to its nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea.