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US takes DPRK off terror list
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The United States removed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) from its terrorism blacklist on Saturday after the two sides reached a deal on verification measures over DPRK's nuclear program.

"The secretary of state has rescinded the designation of the DPRK as a state terror sponsor," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at a briefing.

The announcement was made after the United States and the DPRK reached an agreement on a series of verification measures of DPRK' s nuclear facilities.

McCormack also said the DPRK would also resume disablement of its nuclear facilities.

He said under the agreement, the DPRK will allow atomic experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all of its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites on mutual consent.

"Every element of verification that we sought has been included in this agreement," said McCormack.

The removal of the DPRK from the terrorism list follows a two- day trip to Pyongyang by chief U.S. negotiator to the six-party nuclear talks, Christopher Hill, earlier this month.

During the trip, Hill and DPRK negotiators reached an agreement in which the United States would provisionally remove the DPRK from the terror list once the DPRK agrees to verification of its nuclear declaration.

The U.S. listing of DPRK as a "terrorism sponsor" has been a major factor in the deadlock over the Korean peninsula nuclear issue.

In June, U.S. President George W. Bush promised to delist the DPRK from the terrorism sponsor list but never took action after U. S.-DPRK talks on a plan to verify Pyongyang's assertions on its nuclear programs broke down.

The DPRK blew up on June 27 the cooling tower of its atomic reactor to demonstrate its commitment to nuclear disarmament, a day after handing over details of its atomic programs.

Under the 2007 pact, the DPRK pledged to disable its nuclear program in a step toward its eventual dismantlement in exchange for diplomatic concessions and energy aid.

But the accord has been stalled due to disputes over the verification of a nuclear declaration between the DPRK and United States.

The DPRK stopped disabling its nuclear facilities in August in retaliation for Washington's failure to remove the country from its list of terrorism sponsors.

On Oct. 1-3, Hill visited Pyongyang and reached a series of agreements with DPRK negotiators, which led to the removal of the DPRK from the U.S. terrorism list.

(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2008)

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