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Friday, 6 October, 2000, 21:50 GMT 22:50 UK
North Korea and US move closer

By Jonny Dymond in Washington

North Korea and the United States have agreed to exchange information on international terrorism.

In a joint statement released in the United States, the two governments said they would also work towards removing North Korea from Washington's list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The announcement comes three days before the visit to Washington of Cho Myong Nok, the deputy to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il.

Mr Cho will be the most senior politician North Korean ever to go to Washington.

Safe havens withheld

The statement looks like a major step towards improved relations between the two countries.

It says that North Korea's offical policy is to oppose all forms of terrorism against any country or individual.

The two countries have also pledged to to cooperate in preventing the hijacking of planes and ships and to withold support or safe havens from violent groups.

This public denunciation of terrorism will go some way towards North Korea's goal of removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Washington has seven countries currently on the list.

Last month, American Airlines staff insisted on bodysearching a delegation of North Korean diplomats at Frankfurt airport because of Korea's presence on the list.

If Korea is removed from the list, it could receive American support for loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

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See also:

15 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Clinton applauds Koreas summit outcome
19 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Behind North Korea's transformation
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