Korea Times calls it "a symbolic gesture ... It remains to be seen whether the impoverished and isolated state will ever abandon its suspected arsenal of atomic bombs. Most observers agree there is a still long way to go."
Indeed, the hand over of nuclear documents by North Korea to procure concessions like removal from the "state sponsor of terror" category will not in any way decrease Pyongyang's ability to do just that. First, it addresses only plutonium, leaving the reputed uranium-processing unverified. Second, whatever arsenal the North currently has will remain hidden, and extant. Third, the issue of exporting nuclear technology to Syria (practically the modern definition of being a state sponsor of terror) is not even addressed. Fourth, it's six months late.
Some deal! Here's how the Financial Times of London explains it, in a house editorial:
[H]ad the Bush administration in its final months not been casting around desperately for a foreign policy success, it is hard to imagine Mr Bush giving so much political credit to North Korea for such an insignificant document.
Additionally, here's Sen. Sam Brownback, a rare Republican nowadays who is concerned with human rights:
The lifting of key sanctions in exchange for a tardy and insufficient North Korean declaration will do little to keep the world safe from a nuclear-armed North Korea, and absolutely nothing to keep the innocent North Korean people safe from Kim Jong Il’s barbaric, totalitarian regime...
I am particularly disheartened that the Administration failed to link our country’s concessions to the improvement in human rights for the North Korean people. It is unconscionable to ignore clear evidence of massive concentration camps, systematic starvation, and official oppression, and instead to lift sanctions against the regime of Kim Jong Il.
Meanwhile, the world will watch the destruction of a cooling tower at the Yongbyon facility thanks to CNN, creating a 'Mission Accomplished' moment as photogenic, and as hollow, as the last one.