The US earlier said it had attached political conditions to its food aid programme
North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, as well as nuclear and long-range missile tests, US and North Korean officials say.
The US State Department said the North had also agreed to allow UN inspectors to monitor its reactor in Yongbyon to verify compliance with the measures.
In return, Washington is set to provide Pyongyang with some 240,000 tonnes of food aid.
The move follows talks between US and North Korea in Beijing last week.
Correspondents say the move could pave the way for the resumption of six-party disarmament negotiations with Pyongyang, which last broke down in 2009.
"The United States still has profound concerns regarding North Korean behaviour across a wide range of areas, but today's announcement reflects important, if limited, progress in addressing some of these," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
North Korea confirmed the move in a statement released simultaneously in Pyongyang.
Earlier, a senior US military official said the issue of food aid for North Korea was now linked to political progress - contradicting earlier policy.
Guess someone is hungry...