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U.S. lawmaker's move to relist N.K. as terror sponsor reflects bipartisan stance: official

2017/03/18 15:46

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. lawmaker's move to introduce legislation calling for redesignating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism reflects the U.S. legislature's "bipartisan" stance against a provocative North Korea, a Seoul official said Saturday.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has said he will introduce the motion next week, citing the recent assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It is a companion bill to similar legislation that Rep. Ted Poe tabled in the House in January.

"We judge that the move reflects the U.S. parliament's serious concerns over North Korea's threats and its bipartisan, tough stance on the need for an in-depth review of the issue to put the North back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism," a senior official at Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, declining to be named.

"The (Seoul) government will continue to make efforts to ensure that the North's nuclear and other issues will be dealt with in the framework of the South Korea-U.S. alliance and with U.S. Congress' bipartisan support," he added.

In recent months, Pyongyang has engaged in a series of provocative moves.

On Feb. 13, the North Korean leader's half brother was killed with a lethal nerve agent in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Seoul believes Pyongyang orchestrated the assassination, while the North denies its responsibility.

On March 6, the North fired four ballistic missiles towards the East Sea in response to the ongoing military drills between Seoul and Washington. The latest missile provocation came less than a month after it launched a new intermediate-range missile.