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Obama signs bill requiring submission of report on N. Korea's terrorism

All Headlines 07:18 October 29, 2009

By Hwang Doo-hyong

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday signed a defense authorization bill that calls for the administration to submit a report to Congress on whether to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The bill, authorizing implementation of US$680 billion in next year's defense budget, stipulates that within 30 days of the Act's enactment the Obama administration "shall submit to Congress a detailed report examining the conduct of the Government of North Korea since June 26, 2008, based on all available information to determine whether North Korea meets the statutory criteria for listing as a state sponsor of terrorism."

The State Department said in August that it was reviewing whether to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in connection with North Korea's alleged proliferation of missile and nuclear technology in recent months.

Philip Crowley, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, said at that time that "We are always reviewing and evaluating, you know, the countries of concern and their performance when it comes to terrorism. And there is a legal process that is required in statutes, whether you take a country off or whether you put a country on."

Experts say the North's nuclear and ballistic missile tests do not constitute terrorist acts and thus do not meet the requirement for relisting the North.

The previous Bush administration removed North Korea from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism in October, hoping that the step might prompt progress in the six-party talks on North Korea's denuclearization.

North Korea was first put on the terrorism list soon after it downed a South Korean airplane over Myanmar in 1987, killing all 115 passengers. Its delisting came in October 2008 and paved the way for a fresh round of multilateral nuclear talks deadlocked for nearly a year.

U.S. officials, however, have raised fresh concerns over North Korea's alleged nuclear and missile technology transfer to Myanmar, formerly Burma.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July expressed "growing concerns" over "military cooperation between North Korea and Burma, which we take very seriously," hinting at the possible transfer of North Korean nuclear and missile technology.

A North Korean cargo ship, possibly on its way to Myanmar, returned home in August after being closely tracked by U.S. Navy vessels operating under an interdiction mandate imposed recently by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, which was adopted in early June after North Korea's second nuclear test on May 25.

The resolution bans the North from any further nuclear and ballistic missile tests and imposes financial sanctions, an overall arms embargo and cargo interdictions to head off the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by the North.

hdh@yna.co.kr
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