Page last updated at 07:37 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 08:37 UK

N Korea hails terror list removal

Destroyed cooling tower at Yongbyon. June 2008
Yongbyon nuclear plant was disabled but moves began to reassemble it

North Korea has welcomed a US decision to remove it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the North would now resume disabling its nuclear facilities and allow international monitors access.

The US removed the North after saying there was an agreement to provide full access to the controversial programme.

But Japan called the move "extremely regrettable". It wants information on Japanese citizens the North abducted.

Deadlock broken

North Korea's foreign ministry spokesman told the official Korean Central News Agency: "We welcome the US implementation of its duty to remove us from the list of states sponsoring terrorism.

Snatched in the '70s and '80s
Used as cultural trainers for N Korean spies
Five allowed home in 2002
Five children now freed from N Korea
Eight said to be dead, others missing

"We have decided to resume the disabling of nuclear facilities in Yongbyon and to allow US and International Atomic Energy Agency monitors to carry out their work again."

Pyongyang began disabling its Yongbyon nuclear reactor in August as part of an international deal on its programme, but recently it made moves to reassemble the plant after Washington refused to remove North Korea from the terror blacklist.

The BBC's John Sudworth, in Tokyo, says that now the deadlock has been broken, the deal will end the North's exclusion from aspects of the international finance and banking system.

On Saturday the US state department said North Korea had agreed to allow nuclear experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites.

US State Department official on North Korea

The North would also allow inspectors to verify its denials about transfers of nuclear technology and an alleged uranium programme.

Analysts say it is not clear the latest agreement will succeed. Several previous deals have broken down due to different interpretations of what was required.

South Korea hailed the US decision, saying it would help lead to North Korea's "eventual abandonment of its nuclear programmes".

But Japan criticised the move.

Finance minister Shoichi Nakagawa said Tokyo first wanted North Korea to provide more information about Japanese citizens it abducted in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr Nakagawa said that "abductions amount to terrorist acts".

North Korea has admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese civilians to train its spies. Japan believes the figures could be higher and is sceptical about North Korea's claim that all but five are now dead.

The terror list removal comes after a visit to Pyongyang last week by US envoy Christopher Hill, and days of talks between the US and its negotiating partners China, South Korea, Russia and Japan.

Together with North Korea, they have been involved in long-running six-party talks over the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

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