White House National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe told CNN that Washington would only remove North Korea from its list of terrorism sponsors when North Korea agreed to independent verification that the nuclear complex at Yongbyon was being disassembled.
An unconfirmed report from Japan's Kyodo news agency said that North Korea had resumed reassembly of the Yongbyon facility, apparently as a protest over not being taken off the U.S. terrorism list.
"We and our partners in the six-party talks have made clear to North Korea that we need a credible verification protocol, and as soon as have it, we will remove North Korea from the terror list," Johndroe said. "North Korea knows what it needs to do at this point."
CNN said the sticking point appears to be Pyongyang's refusal to permit unannounced inspections at all of its nuclear facilities.