US 'strikes deal' on North Korea
Setbacks have plagued negotiations on the North's nuclear activities
The Bush administration is to remove North Korea from its list of countries sponsoring terrorism, US officials say.
One official told Reuters news agency that Pyongyang had provided Washington with assurances on verifying its nuclear activities.
President George W Bush had therefore decided to remove North Korea from the blacklist of states, the official said.
The US listing has been a major factor in the deadlock over North Korea's nuclear disarmament.
An administration official also told the AFP news agency: "We've agreed to a series of verification measures [on North Korea's nuclear programme], and flowing from that we can now remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terror."
Another report, quoting an unnamed US official, said that the removal would only be provisional and Pyongyang would return to the blacklist if it fails to comply with inspections of its nuclear facilities.
Days of talks
The move follows days of deliberations within the US administration after a visit to Pyongyang last week by US envoy Christopher Hill.
Analysts say the deal will be unpopular with some conservative Republicans.
North Korea began disabling its Yongbyon nuclear reactor in August, but more recently it has made moves to reassemble the plant after Washington refused to remove it from the terror sponsors' list.
In other provocative steps, it expelled UN inspectors and test-fired short-range missiles, heightening tensions with the US.
Correspondents say that Pyongyang wants to come off the US list in order to receive international aid and loans, and as a step towards its diplomatic rehabilitation.