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Is North Korea set to come off US terror-sponsor list?

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New reports indicate that the US could remove North Korea from the list of nations supporting terrorism very soon, resolving a key issue in convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. But Japanese resistance to the deal may put it on hold.

The Times of London reports that the US could be set to announce North Korea's delisting as soon as today.

According to US and South Korean media reports, and informed sources in Tokyo who spoke to

, American and North Korean negotiators reached a compromise agreement in Pyongyang last week. President Bush will agree to delisting, reportedly as early as today, in return for North Korea's agreement on steps to be taken to verify its nuclear declaration.

The details of the "verification protocol" are still unclear, and will be scrutinised by those who suspect Mr. Bush of caving into the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il. Conservatives, including some of the president's former neo-con supporters, object on principle to the deal of cutting a deal with a regime which they regard as murderous, illegitimate and inherently untrustworthy.
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