Saturday, October 04, 2008

U.S. considering delisting North Korea

The United States would provisionally remove North Korea from its list of terrorism-sponsoring nations under a proposal that emerged during talks between the countries in Pyongyang over the secretive state's nuclear program declarations, U.S. government sources said.

The proposal envisions a two-step verification package that differentiates between nuclear-related activities and facilities declared by North Korea in June and those yet undeclared, the sources said.

In June, Pyongyang declared, among other things, its core Yongbyon nuclear reactor--of which the main cooling tower was demolished the same month. But it has yet to report on matters such as the status of its uranium enrichment and nuclear weapons programs, and nuclear proliferation activities.

Under the proposal being discussed, North Korea would submit a verification plan to China--host of the six-way talks between Japan, China, North and South Korea, Russia and the United States. The plan would be limited to North Korean nuclear activities and facilities, such as Yongbyon, already reported to Beijing in June. In turn, the United States would provisionally remove North Korea from its blacklist.

Following that, Pyongyang would state its intention to cooperate with the comprehensive verification of its nuclear weapons programs and other undeclared atomic facilities and programs by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, in line with U.S. demands, according to the sources.

[The Yomiuri Shimbun]

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