In the News – U.S. Keeps N.Korea Off Terror Sponsors List

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In the News – U.S. Keeps N.Korea Off Terror Sponsors List

The U.S. government has left North Korea off its annual list of state sponsors of terrorism for the fourth consecutive year.

In the Country Reports on Terrorism 2011, the State Department said Pyongyang is not reported to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a South Korean commercial airliner in 1987.

The report, however, re-certifies the North as a country that does not fully cooperate with U.S. counterterrorism efforts under the Arms Export and Control Act.

The OECD’s Financial Action Task Force, which expressed concerns over Pyongyang’s lack of regulation on money laundering and terrorist financing, said the North’s financial system is murky and its compliance with international standards difficult to measure.

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In the News – N.Korea Threatens S.Korean Activists

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In the News – N.Korea Threatens S.Korean Activists

North Korea on Tuesday threatened to hunt down defectors as well as South Korean activist Kim Young-hwan, who was detained in China for 114 days for helping them.

“We will in the future, too, never allow those abductors, terrorists and saboteurs who dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership of [North Korea], encroach upon its sovereignty and threaten the safety of its people to go scot-free even by scouring all parts of the earth,” the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in a statement.

The statement singled out Kim Sung-min of Radio Free North Korea, Park Sang-hak of activist group Fighters for Free North Korea, Cho Myong-chol, a defector who became a Saenuri Party lawmaker, and Kim.

“The U.S. and the South Korean puppet regime should stop at once the act of luring and abducting [North Korean] people, make an official apology for the hideous politically motivated, state-sponsored terrorism against the dignity of its supreme leadership and sternly punish the prime movers,” the statement added.

The statement comes after a North Korean defector claimed in a press conference in Pyongyang that he had infiltrated the North on a mission sponsored by U.S. and South Korean authorities to blow up statues and monuments.

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In the News – U.S. ‘concerned’ about N. Korea’s inertia in fighting money-laundering: report

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In the News – U.S. ‘concerned’ about N. Korea’s inertia in fighting money-laundering: report

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, July 31 (Yonhap) — The U.S. government expressed concern Tuesday about North Korea’s refusal to improve its regulatory system against money laundering and terrorism financing.

“The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) remained concerned about the DPRK’s failure to address the significant deficiencies in its regulatory regimes,” the State Department said in its annual report on terrorism. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The FATF, based in Paris, is an inter-governmental organization designed to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 revealed that Pyongyang “engaged the FATF to discuss its anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regulatory regimes.”

While the FATF welcomed the initial engagement, the report said, there were no further contacts.

It was among the fresh issues covered by the report on North Korea, with most of others similar to those in previous publications.

The report reiterated that North Korea is “not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts” since the bombing of a Korean Air flight in 1987 in which 115 people were killed.

In 2008, the U.S. removed Pyongyang from the list of state sponsors of terrorism amid some progress in nuclear talks.

On South Korea, the report said the country’s security authorities have maintained close cooperation with their American counterparts in combating terrorism.

It said the FBI conducted a joint investigation with South Korea’s state intelligence agency and police into an international terrorism subject who had relocated to South Korea.

The South Korean authorities “provided information and monitored the subject until he departed the country.”

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In the News – Dossier: U.S. found N. Korea behind 1987 KAL bombing

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In the News – Dossier: U.S. found N. Korea behind 1987 KAL bombing

By Lee Chi-dong, Lee Woo-tak
WASHINGTON, July 18 (Yonhap) — The United States government conducted its own investigation into the mid-air bombing of a South Korean jet in 1987 and concluded it was an act by North Korea, a set of declassified State Department documents shows.

U.S. government officials interrogated Kim Hyun-hui, a self-confessed North Korean terrorist responsible for the bombing of Korean Air (KAL) 858, which killed 115 people, shortly after the incident in November 1987, according to the dossier.

Kim, traveling with a fake Japanese passport through Europe, made a failed attempt to commit suicide shortly before being arrested. She is now living in South Korea as a housewife.

“In a situation we controlled Ms. Kim picked out the photographs of 3 North Koreans who had contacted her under alias in Belgrade and Budapest, 2 in Belgrade one in Budapest,” read a diplomatic cable sent from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul to Washington in February 1988.

It is among 57 documents posted in June on the department’s website.

“Then 3 photographs were picked out of a collection of 26 shown her. In each case the individual she picked was in fact the photograph of a North Korean investigation department agent posted in that city at the time she was there,” it added. “We consider that part of the compelling independent evidence that she was working for North Korea.”

This file photo shows Kim Hyun-hui is taken out of a plane in South Korea, with her mouth taped, on Dec. 15 1987. (Yonhap)

The document also showed that a bureau affiliated with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency carried out a linguistic analysis of Kim’s statement, “which demonstrates that the words she used are North Korean (dialect).”

The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) was run by the CIA from 1941 to 2004.

South Korean officials also “strongly suspected” North Korea’s involvement from the beginning of their probe and reached the same conclusion, another document shows.

But the South Korean government, led by iron-fisted President Chun Doo-hwan, did not consider military retaliation, according to the document.

“Chun went on that he would rule out military retaliation at that time,” James Lilley, who served then as U.S. ambassador to Seoul, said in a cable sent in January 1988.

Chun was quoted as saying, “South Korea was in the course of a political transition and had to host the Olympics.”

In his comments attached, Lilley said, “There are Koreans who favor military retaliation but emphatic that Korea would not undertake any military action in the short term.”

In South Korea, there is a lingering controversy over the KAL case.

Some still claim that the Chun administration might have orchestrated the bombing itself to influence the presidential elections in December 1987.

In 1988, meanwhile, the U.S. blacklisted North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism on the basis of the KAL incident.

Washington removed Pyongyang from the list in 2008 in return for its initial move towards denuclearization.

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