U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said North Korea's decision to place a moratorium on its nuclear program represents a modest first step in the right direction towards peace, but added that her government still has some profound concerns about Pyongyang’s intentions.

Speaking before a House of Representatives committee in Washington, Clinton said she will be watching closely and judging North Korea's new leaders by their actions, Reuters reported.

 Japan also welcomed the moratorium.

We hope coordination to implement what has been agreed upon will make smooth progress, said Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, North Korea agreed to halt its uranium enrichment program and long-range missile tests in exchange for 240,000 metric tons of food aid from the U.S. Pyongyang officials also agreed to allow inspectors from the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit and monitor its nuclear complex at Yongbyon nuclear in order to verify the moratorium.