World awaits North Korea’s next step

By handing over about 60 pages to Chinese officials in Beijing on yesterday, North Korea won an immediate reward from President Bush: the end of some economic sanctions and a pledge to remove it from a list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

A timeline of nuclear weapons development in North Korea:

1986: North Korea starts operation of a 5-megawatt nuclear reactor at Yongbyon after seven years of construction with Soviet help.

1994: North Korea and the United States sign an agreement under which the North shuts down the plutonium-based Yongbyon nuclear reactor in exchange for help in building two nuclear reactors for producing electricity.

Jan. 29, 2002: President Bush labels North Korea, Iran and Iraq an “axis of evil.”

Jan. 11, 2003: North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Feb. 10, 2005: North Korea announces it has nuclear weapons.

Oct. 9, 2006: North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test blast.

Feb. 13, 2007: North Korea agrees at six-nation nuclear talks, which include China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the U.S., to take initial steps to disarmament, after Washington helps free $25 million frozen in North Korean accounts.

Sept. 6, 2007: Israeli warplanes bomb a Syrian nuclear reactor site allegedly built with North Korean design help.

Nov. 5, 2007: North Korea starts disabling the Yongbyon reactor under the watch of U.S. experts.

Feb. 26, 2008: The New York Philharmonic performs in Pyongyang, in the highest-level cultural exchange between the U.S. and North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Thursday: The White House says it will lift some trade sanctions and pledges to remove North Korea from a U.S. terrorism blacklist after Pyongyang releases a long-delayed accounting of its nuclear weapons activities.

Source: The Associated Press

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