A number of U.S. lawmakers, as well as South Korean officials, believe that North Korea is engaging in and supporting international terrorism.
North Korea’s recent provocations have revived the discussion about whether or not the North should be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“Kim Jong-un’s threats continue to grow bolder and bolder with no repercussions,” Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, said, “Once upon a time, the United States had North Korea on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. It is time to put little Kim back on that list because he is a world terrorist and a threat to world peace, and he has earned that distinction.”
Poe introduced a bill last month that would put North Korea back on the state sponsors of terrorism list.
“North Korea illegally launched yet another menacing ballistic missile,” Poe explained. “This was a high-tech, pre-fueled rocket that can be launched quickly. This type of rocket has a range of about 1,800 miles — thus, making it an immediate threat to South Korea and Japan, as well as our troops that are stationed there.”
Pyongyang is also believed to be behind the murder of Kim Jong-nam, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s estranged half brother. Observers suspect that the move may have been an attempt by the young despot to consolidate his power. South Korea asserts that the recent hit was an “act of terrorism.”
“The murder, which was carried out in a public space like the international airport of a third country, is an unacceptable anti-humane criminal act and an act of terrorism,” said acting South Korean President, “[The murder] clearly depicts the recklessness and brutality of the North Korean regime which attempts to stay in power by hook or by crook.”
He added that it looks “certain that the North Korean regime is behind the incident.”
“The murder once again highlights the treachery of North Korea,” explained Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, adding that North Korea’s “actions and relationships that would meet the criteria of a state sponsor of terror.”
“We should never have taken North Korea off the state sponsor of terrorism list,” Democrat Rep. Brad Sherman of California argued.
Several other lawmakers also support blacklisting North Korea.
The North was listed as a state sponsor of terrorism after North Korean spies set off a bomb on a South Korean passenger jet, killing all 115 passengers on board; however, it was taken off the list in 2008.
While it is not labeled as a state sponsor of terrorism, North Korea remains one of the most heavily-sanctioned countries in the world. Congressmen began calling for North Korea to be relisted in 2015, after North Korea hacked Sony Pictures. The Department of State did not take action though.
The department feels that such a label would have limited impact on North Korea.
North Korea’s latest provocations have reignited the debate on whether the country’s actions support international terrorism. Several congressmen assert that it is time to review North Korea’s status.
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