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U.S. continues to review whether to add N.K. back to terrorism sponsor list: Amb. Sung Kim

2015/10/23 01:00

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- The United States continues to review intelligence to determine whether to put North Korea back on the list of states that sponsor terrorism, Washington's top envoy on the communist nation said Thursday.

Amb. Sung Kim, special representative for North Korea policy, made the remark in a written statement submitted for a terrorism subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as he outlined U.S. policy on the communist nation.

"We also continually review the available intelligence to determine whether North Korea is subject to additional measures. Naturally, this includes reviewing available information to determine whether the facts indicate the DPRK should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism," Kim said.

North Korea was put on the U.S. terrorism sponsor list for the 1987 midair bombing of a Korean Air flight that killed all 115 people aboard. But the administration of former President George W. Bush removed Pyongyang from the list in 2008 in exchange for progress in denuclearization talks.

Calls grew early this year for re-listing the North after the FBI determined the regime was responsible for the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures. However, the U.S. left Pyongyang off the list in its annual terrorism report issued in June, saying Pyongyang is not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the plane bombing.

"In order to designate a country as a state sponsor of terrorism, the secretary of state must determine that the government of such country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism," Hillary Johnson, deputy counterterrorism coordinator of the State Department, said during the hearing.

Even though Pyongyang is off the terrorism sponsor list, the U.S. re-designated it as a country "not fully cooperating" with U.S. counterterrorism efforts, Johnson said.

"Even without being currently designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, North Korea remains among the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world," Johnson said. "It is subject to a wide array of layered and severe unilateral sanctions based on its announced nuclear detonations, ballistic missile activity, proliferation activities, human rights violations and status as a communist state."