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Xinhua, Yao Dawei/AP
Kim Jong Il

North Korea to Come off U.S. Terror List

June 26, 2008 01:14 PM
by Josh Katz
The United States says it will remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism now that Pyongyang has released a long-awaited report of its nuclear program.

30-Second Summary

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Following an October 2007 agreement, North Korea was supposed to hand over its nuclear information by the end of December 2007 in a disarmament-for-aid deal, but it missed the deadline.

The country finally released the 60-page declaration on Thursday, and the United States has pledged to take North Korea off the terror list within 45 days, while also lifting some economic restrictions. The removal from the terrorist list will make North Korea eligible for aid and loans from institutions like the World Bank.

The declaration is focused on plutonium reprocessing at the Yongbyon plant, and on Friday, North Korea is scheduled symbolically to destroy a cooling tower at the reactor. Although the Bush administration considers the recent developments a success, officials have said the document is lacking in its description of North Korean uranium enrichments and potential nuclear connections worldwide, including its alleged involvement with Syria’s nuclear program.

The Bush administration sees the declaration as an important step toward normalizing relations with North Korea, and a diplomatic achievement in the waning stages of Bush’s presidency. Many critics have expressed frustration with the recent strategy, however, asserting that America has “gone soft” toward North Korea.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tried to allay any worries regarding North Korea’s removal from the terrorist list, indicating that the United States will still keep the nation on a short leash.

Foreign Policy magazine claims
that the apparent success with North Korea should not be rashly applied to Iran and its nuclear ambitions, however, because the two countries have important differences.

Headline Link: ‘U.S. to Take North Korea Off Terror List’

Background: U.S.-North Korea relations

Opinion & Analysis: The significance of the declaration

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