(LEAD) U.S. keeps N. Korea on state sponsors of terrorism list
(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from a state department official, additional information in paras 6-8)
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (Yonhap) -- The United States continues to keep North Korea on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, a state department report showed Thursday.
North Korea has been on the list of state sponsors of terrorism since 2017 when North Korean agents assassinated leader Kim Jong-un's half brother, Kim Jong-nam, using chemical agents in Malaysia.
"In 2017 the Secretary of State determined the DPRK had repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism since its State Sponsor of Terrorism designation was rescinded in 2008," said the report, noting the North was first designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1988 for its involvement in the tragic bombing of a South Korean passenger jet the year before.
DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.
"The DPRK also has failed to take action to address historical support for acts of international terrorism," it said of reason North Korea remains on the list that includes Iran and Syria.
A state department official said the North's behavior remains problematic, though the country may have not been directly implicated in acts of terrorism in recent years.
"North Korea's behavior, in a number of areas I think, remains problematic and concerning, and that's part of the reason that they have remained on the list," John Godfrey, acting coordinator for counter-terrorism, said in a telephonic press briefing.
The report, Country Reports on Terrorism, is annually submitted to U.S. Congress.
The report also said North Korea continues to provide shelter to four Japanese Red Army members wanted by the Japanese government for participating in the March 31, 1970 Japan Airlines hijacking.
"The Japanese government also continues to seek a full accounting of the fate of numerous Japanese nationals believed to have been abducted by DPRK state entities in the 1970s and 1980s," the report said, adding only five such abductees have been repatriated to Japan since 2002.
The report also notes the U.S. offers rewards of up to US$5 million for information leading to the disruption of financial mechanisms of any person or entity that supports the illicit activities of the North Korean government.
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