North Korea has made a new promise to come clean on its nuclear weapon programs.
President Bush called it a step in the right direction and announced some surprising diplomatic concessions. Bush announced Thurday that he would soften U.S. sanctions on North Korea and take steps to remove the regime from a list of state sponsors of terror.
Click the play button for comments from CBN News Terror Analyst Erick Stakelbeck.
Still, Bush remains cautious and says the country's diplomatic isolation will not end.
"North Korea will remain one of the most heavily sanctioned nations in the world. The sanctions North Korea faces for its human rights violations, its nuclear tests in 2006 and its weapons proliferation will all stay in effect," he held.
The president's move follows a declaration by North Korea, delivered to the Chinese, that reportedly describes its nuclear stockpiles and activities.
Bush says Pyongyang has 45 days to prove its commitment to end nuclear pursuits, and he will be watching.
"We will hold them to account for promises. And when they fulfil their promises more restrictions will be eased," he said. "If they don't fulfil their promises, more restrictions will be placed on them. This is action for action... we will trust them only to the extent to fulfiIl their promises."
As a good faith gesture, North Korea, Friday, plans to televise the destruction of a cooling tower in its Yongbyon nuclear complex.
But national security advisor Stephen Hadley says North Korea has promised more -- access to records, sites and personnel all critical in a trust-but-verify process.
"They've said we will have access. We've said we need we are going to be making the questions and we need to get answers and get satisfied or we won't be able to move forward. It's pretty clear," he said.
Top U.S. concerns are finding out how much plutonium North Korea produced and taking it out of circulation, exploring uranium enrichment programs North Korea has denied and checking out suspicions that the country built a secret nuclear reactor for Syria that was bombed by Israel last year.
"We want to get to the bottom of that, so we understand what that activity was to make sure there's not continuing activity going on between North Korea and Syria or activity with respect to other activities as well," Hadley said.
Given the regime's sketchy record on human rights, nuclear proliferation, and its ballistic missle program, the White House is moving slowly, saying it won't give up benefits based on expectations, but only as North Korea acts to fulfils its pledge.