US will remove 'terror' tag on North Korea

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Map shows North Korean political map. Yongbyon is located north west of Pyongyang in the North Pyongyang province

Fulfilling a pledge of fairness, United States president George W. Bush announced Thursday that the United States will soon remove North Korea from a list of countries seen as 'sponsoring terrorism' in the world.

The announcement was made as a 'reward' to North Korea for turning over all documents related to its controversial nuclear program. Pyongyang turned over to China documents related to its plutonium core and waste activities.

Pyongyang finally turned over documents and plans of its nuclear enrichment facilities in Yongbyong.

North Korean state television also announced that the state will televise the demolition of the cooling tower of the Yongbyong nuclear facilities on Friday.

Mr. Bush called the North Korean action as a positive step with no illusions. He also said that the act truly pleased him and it's just the first step towards repairing North Korea's relation and status with the world community.

United States President George W. Bush

The president added that in response to the act, he will lift the trade sanctions under the Trading With the Enemy Act. The White House will also inform the U.S. Congress that in 45 days, the State Department will remove North Korea from a list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

The United States reminded North Korea that it still has some requirements to complete in order for the country to be completely removed from its diplomatic and economic isolation. Pyongyang still remains obliged to answer questions such as the degree of its uranium enrichment and proliferation that possibly benefited Syria.

The United Nations sanction sponsored by the United States issued on February 13, 2007 also demanded for a complete accounting of the alleged half a dozen units of nuclear bombs, the real number and its actual location.

U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley downplayed any heightened expectations from North Korea and branded the latest act as a mere "stepping stone." Hadley warned that the process remains delicate and there will still be "definite consequences," if North Korea fails to fulfill its end of the bargain.

Meanwhile, Japan expressed 'unease' over the decision of the United States to remove North Korea from the 'terror' list, claiming that there is still a need to resolve issues about the kidnapping of Japanese nationals by agents of Pyongyang.