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Page last updated at 08:36 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 09:36 UK

US confirms N Korea 'target date'

Satellite image of North Korea's main nuclear plant, Yongbyon, in 2002
The North may blow up part of its Yongbyon plant in a media show

US officials have confirmed that Thursday is the target date for North Korea to hand over a long-awaited declaration of its nuclear activities.

A White House spokeswoman said the date came from the North Koreans - but emphasised that the information in the draft would need to be verified.

If the handover happens, the US will take steps to remove North Korea from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

There have been lengthy negotiations over the declaration.

North Korea agreed in February 2007 to end its nuclear activities in return for aid and political incentives.

It has closed its Yongbyon nuclear reactor but the second stage of the three-part deal - providing a complete accounting of its nuclear activities - is almost six months overdue.

"We know the North Koreans have been themselves saying that this Thursday would be the date that they submit their declaration," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

"We will see if that actually happens - and if it does, it must be correct and verifiable."

Cooling tower

The US negotiator with North Korea, Christopher Hill, said that the document would not include nuclear weapons.

"The declaration at this point, the purpose of it, is to list all of their nuclear materials and all of their nuclear facilities and programmes," he said.

"With regard to weapons, that has always been the vision for a subsequent phase."

When the declaration is handed over, Washington is then expected to set in motion the process of removing North Korea from its terrorism list.

And on Friday, in a symbolic gesture, North Korea may blow up a cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear plant.

Representatives of various media organisations have been invited to watch, Korean and Japanese media reports say.

North Korea tested a nuclear weapon in October 2006.



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