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North Korea Removed from U.S. Terror List in Return for Nuclear Inspections

  • VOA News

The United States on Saturday removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in exchange for a verification plan allowing the U.S. and other parties to monitor the communist country's nuclear disarmament.

The U.S. State Department announced details of the agreement Saturday following a day of intensified discussions among the U.S. and other countries involved in the six party talks.

State Department spokesman Scott McCormack said the U.S. got "every single thing" it wanted in regard to verification of North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

Under terms of the new agreement, North Korea will allow monitoring of both its plutonium and uranium development plans and any nuclear proliferation activities.

Experts from all six nations involved in the deal and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be allowed to participate in verification activities.

Japan - one of the six party nations -- had wanted North Korea to remain on the list until issues about Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s were addressed.

A White House spokesman (Gordon Johndroe) says President Bush spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso this (Saturday) morning to reaffirm that the U.S. would continue to push North Korea to abide by its promises on the matter.

Both U.S. presidential candidates have issued statements on the plan. On Friday before the agreement was reached, Republican Senator John McCain reaffirmed his opposition to any deal which did not include all U.S. demands for verification. He said the goal of any agreement should the "verifiable denuclearization" of North Korea.

Democratic Senator Barack Obama on Saturday called the agreement "a modest step" and an "appropriate response" so long as North Korea faced immediate consequences if it backed out on its side of the deal.

North Korea agreed earlier this year to disable its main nuclear plant at Yongbyon in exchange for economic and energy aid. But six party talks stalled when North Korea halted the process after Washington refused to remove it from the terrorism list.

The six parties involved in the nuclear disarmament talks include North and South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia.

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