North Korea moratorium 'step in right direction': EU

BRUSSELS - EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday hailed as "a step in the right direction" North Korea's decision to suspend missile and nuclear tests and its uranium enrichment programme.

"If confirmed and implemented, these measures would be a first step in the right direction," a statement from her office said.

"The EU is ready to continue working with its international partners and with the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) in pursuit of lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," it added.

The North's new leadership committed late Wednesday to suspend its uranium enrichment programme along with nuclear and long-range missile tests, and to let UN nuclear inspectors monitor the deal.

The agreement followed talks in Beijing last week between US and North Korean negotiators. Washington has offered Pyongyang humanitarian aid.