US to postpone removal of North Korea from blacklist, minister says
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday the United States would postpone removal of North Korea from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, Japanese media reports said Monday.
Rice apparently confirmed with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura on the phone that North Korea remains on the list as of Monday, dpa reported.
"I asked if it is correct to understand that the delisting will not take place today because not only has the verification process (of North Korea's nuclear activities) not begun, but the regime and details on how to implement have not been set, and she said yes that would be correct," Komura was quoted as saying.
"It was as we expected," Komura added.
Rice was expected to take steps to remove North Korea from the list Monday after the US President George W Bush notified Congress of his administration's intention to clear Pyongyang.
Japan began talks with North Korea Monday on resuming the investigation into abducted Japanese citizens who are believed to be in Pyongyang since 1970s and '80s.
Tokyo was concerned North Korea would not cooperate on the abduction issues if it was removed from the US blacklist.