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US Denies North Korea is Off Terror List


North Korea must take more steps before it can be removed from the U.S. list of countries sponsoring terrorism, says the Assistant Secretary of State, denying earlier North Korean claims it had been removed from the list. VOA's Nancy- Amelia Collins has this report from Sydney where Hill is attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill says North Korea needs to do more to dismantle its nuclear program before the United States can take it off its terror list.

"It depends on further denuclearization, we have some pretty good it depends on further steps that they are going to have to make," he said.

He said Washington is committed to delisting North Korea, in line with the six-nation disarmament deal reached in February, but that not enough has been done yet.

On Monday North Korea's state news agency reported the United States had agreed to remove the country from its terror list and lift sanctions against it.

The report said the agreement followed bilateral talks during the weekend in Geneva between Hill, who is also the United States top nuclear negotiator, and North Korea's vice foreign minister, Kim Kye-kwan.

Japan's foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, who is also in Sydney to attend the APEC summit, said a change in North Korea's status would depend on "all kinds of conditions like the disabling of nuclear facilities and complete verification."

During last weekend's talks in Geneva, Hill said North Korea agreed to make a full declaration of its nuclear programs and disable them by the end of the year.

It has already shut down its main nuclear reactor, seen as the first stage of disarmament.

North Korea has been on the U.S. terrorism list since 1988 after a North Korean agent confessed to the 1987 bombing of a South Korean passenger jet that killed all 115 people on board.

The U.S. terrorism list, which also includes Iran, Cuba, Sudan and Syria, prevents North Korea from buying arms or receiving economic aid from the U.S., and from receiving loans from the World Bank and other multi-lateral bodies.

Japan has been pressing Washington not to de-list North Korea until the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents has been resolved.

North Korea insists the issue has already been resolved by allowing a number of abductees to return to their families in Japan in 2002 and 2004.

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