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US-DPRK deal a step forward
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Washington removed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Saturday from its terrorism blacklist after weeks-long intense negotiations by the two sides on nuclear verification procedures.

The generally-welcomed announcement was widely regarded as a step forward towards returning back to the right direction over the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula, but many media reports indicated that the deal may be fragile with no more diplomacy and commitment to follow.

First of all, under the deal, experts have the right to access to all declared nuclear facilities and, based on "mutual consent," to undeclared sites.

This means that the DPRK has a veto over everything beyond Yongbyon, said John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

He said that the Bush administration had "punted" the hardest issue -- inspections beyond declared nuclear sites.

Secondly, all signs show that the DPRK will make no easy compromise regarding to issues concerning its own sovereignty and security, bringing uncertainties in the future over the solution of the nuclear issue.

The removal of the DPRK from the U.S. terrorism blacklist has been a long and complicated process due to the lack of trust and confidence between each other, and was rescued on the verge of collapse.

The deal, many analysts believe, shows that the Bush administration is intended to ease up pressure on the stalemate over the denuclearization process and guarantee the continued disablement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, major outcome of the six-party negotiations.

Welcoming the U.S. move, the DPRK side promised to resume disablement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, but warning that Pyongyang's further cooperation will depend on whether "the October 3 agreement (in 2007) will be fully implemented.

The DPRK said the two countries have come to an agreement on a "fair verification procedure in line with the phase of disablement" through a bilateral "in-depth" talks held in Pyongyang from Oct. 1 to 3.

A DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said Pyongyang's next step depends on whether the U.S. delisting actually takes effect and the economic compensation is in place.

Analysts believe Pyongyang's reaction to the delisting is positive, hinting that the country's stance on denuclearizing the Peninsula remains unchanged and the disablement at the Yongbyon nuclear facilities could be further implemented.

What the DPRK demands is that the U.S. should meet its promises to provide compensation for Pyongyang and guarantee its security, the analysts say.

South Korea was also supportive on the deal.

On Sunday, South Korea 's chief negotiator for the six-party talks on the nuclear issue Kim Sook hailed the agreement on Sunday, saying "the agreement is expected to put the six-party talks back on a normal track and serve as an opportunity for the North (DPRK)to ultimately abandon its nuclear program."

He said the members of the six-party talks, including China, the United States, DPRK, Russia, Japan and South Korea, will soon gather in Beijing to discuss details.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone also said his country will continue to cooperate with countries on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

(Xinhua News Agency October 14, 2008)

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