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Asia-pacific

US mulls putting North Korea back on terror list

©

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-07

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the United States is "going to look at" putting North Korea back on its list of countries that sponsor terrorism following Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests.

AFP - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday the United States is looking at putting North Korea back on its list of countries that sponsor terrorism following Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests.

In an interview with ABC television, the top US diplomat was asked for a response to a letter from several US senators asking President Barack Obama to put Pyongyang back on the terror list, from which it was removed in October 2008 under former president George W. Bush.

"Well, we're going to look at it," she said.

"There's a process for it. Obviously we would want to see recent evidence of their support for international terrorism," she added. "We're just beginning to look at it."

Obama said Saturday that "North Korea's actions over the last couple of months have been extraordinarily provocative."

The North conducted its second nuclear test last month and defied international criticism by firing a volley of short-range missiles and threatening to attack the capitalist South.

At a press conference in Normandy, where Obama was visiting to mark the 65th D-Day anniversary, the president also said the UN Security Council is working toward a new resolution on North Korea.

He insisted even China and Russia, the two major powers closest to the North, were taking a tougher approach. "They understand how destabilizing North Korea's actions are," Obama said.

Sixteen Republican senators called Wednesday for placing the communist regime back on the terror list, saying the North's "provocative actions must have immediate consequences."

Ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's "regime has never stopped supporting terrorism or joined meaningful negotiations," said Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina. "In fact, North Korea has done just the opposite and moved closer to equipping terrorists with nuclear weapons."

DeMint and seven other lawmakers had sent a letter to Clinton a day earlier urging her to "immediately" place North Korea back on the blacklist.

Reinstating North Korea on the watchlist would reactivate sanctions lifted in October, when the United States said North Korea had agreed to steps to verify its nuclear disarmament and pledged to resume disabling its atomic plants.

Obama would be able to waive the designation if he certifies to the congress that North Korea has fully disclosed its nuclear activities, has not illegally spread nuclear or missile know-how, has not supported any terrorist groups, and has met other conditions.

North Korea was added to the blacklist on January 20, 1988, following the bombing by its agents of a KAL plane on November 29, 1987 which killed all 115 on board.

The State Department said late last year that the North was not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since that bombing.
 

Date created : 2009-06-07

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