The United States is poised to announce a significant donation of food aid to North Korea this week, the first definite accomplishment after months of diplomatic contacts behind the scenes.
An agreement by North Korea to suspend its uranium enrichment programme will most likely follow within days.
Discussions have been taking place since summer in New York, Geneva and Beijing. They have already yielded agreements by North Korea to suspend nuclear and ballistic missile testing, readmit international nuclear inspectors expelled in 2009, and resume a dialogue between North and South Korea, according to US diplomats.
The announcement of the food aid, expected to take place as early as today in Washington, would pave the way for another crucial US-North Korea meeting in Beijing on Thursday.