North Korea Talks On Shutting Down Nuclear Program

WHITE HOUSE - The White House says a landmark agreement with North Korea is "a very important first step'' toward ridding the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

The agreement was announced after six-way talks in Beijing. It requires North Korea to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons program.

But North Korean state media are saying the deal requires only a"temporary suspension'' of the nuclear facilities.

Under the deal, the North would eventually receive a quarter of a billion dollars in aid.

White House spokesman Tony Snow says: If they don't abide by the terms, they don't get the benefits they desire.''

(Copyright 2007 The Associated Press)