(Reuters) - The United States on Saturday removed North Korea from its terrorism blacklist after Pyongyang agreed to a series of verification measures of its nuclear facilities. Following are reactions from the U.S. presidential candidates:
DEMOCRAT BARACK OBAMA
“North Korea’s agreement to these verification measures is a modest step forward in dismantling its nuclear weapons programs. President Bush’s decision to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism is an appropriate response, as long as there is a clear understanding that if North Korea fails to follow through there will be immediate consequences.
“It is now essential that North Korea halt all efforts to reassemble its nuclear facilities, place them back under IAEA supervision, and cooperate fully with the international community to complete the disablement of the Yongbyon facilities and to implement a robust verification mechanism to confirm the accuracy of its nuclear declaration.”
“We must dramatically improve coordination with our allies Japan and South Korea, as well as with China and Russia, particularly as we ensure that any agreement reached on verification is fully implemented.
“If North Korea refuses to permit robust verification, we should lead all members of the six Party talks in suspending energy assistance, reimposing sanctions that have recently been waived, and considering new restrictions.”
REPUBLICAN JOHN MCCAIN
(From a statement released on Friday, before the delisting was officially announced)
“I have previously said that I would not support the easing of sanctions North Korea unless the United States is able to fully verify the nuclear declaration Pyongyang submitted on June 26. It is not clear that the latest verification arrangement will enable us to do so.
“I am also concerned that this latest agreement appears to have been reached between Washington and Pyongyang and only then discussed with our Asian allies in an effort to garner their support.
“While we conduct this diplomacy, we must keep our goal in sight -- the verifiable denuclearization of North Korea -- and avoid reaching for agreement for its own sake, particularly if it leaves critical verification issues unaddressed.”
Reporting by Deborah Charles
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