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2008/06/10 17:04 KST
(4th LD) N.K. reaffirms commitment to anti-terrorism as U.S. change of terrorism list draws near

   By Shim Sun-ah
SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to international efforts to combat terrorism, apparently to expedite the U.S. removal of the communist country from its list of terrorism-sponsoring states.

   "Upon the authorization of the government, the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarifies that the DPRK will firmly maintain its consistent stand of opposing all forms of terrorism and any support to it and fulfill its responsibility and duty in the struggle against terrorism as a dignified member of the United Nations, in the future," the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.

   DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.

   The U.S. is expected to take initial steps to remove the North from its list of terrorism-sponsoring nations as soon as Pyongyang submits a declaration of all its nuclear programs as promised under a six-party deal.

   The October deal with South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia required North Korea to disable its key nuclear facilities and declare all its nuclear programs by the end of last year in exchange for the removal and other political and economic rewards. But the North missed the deadline, insisting that the U.S. reneged on its commitment to remove the communist country from its terrorism blacklist.

   The North was put on the list after its agents were found to have bombed a South Korean airliner in 1987, killing all 115 people on board.

   "The DPRK fully supports the international community in its efforts to establish an international legal mechanism to combat terrorism and will actively cooperate with it in taking effective measures for it," the statement said.

   It, specifically, pledged efforts to prevent the transfer and proliferation of "substance, equipment and technology to be used for the production of nukes and biochemical and radioactive weapons" as agreed in six-party talks.
Sung Kim, director of the U.S. State Department's Office of Korean Affairs, travelled to North Korea on Tuesday to discuss North Korea's disablement of its nuclear facilities.

   The U.S. official said he will discuss how to deal with the more than 2,000 unused fuel rods from North Korea's nuclear reactor in Yongbyon and other measures to advance the six-party denuclearization talks.

   North Korea handed over to the United States over 18,000 pages of documents on its plutonium production at its Yongbyon nuclear complex during Kim's last visit to the communist state in May.

   American experts are combing through the records to glean information on exactly how much of the material North Korea has made.