Pyongyang warns US against its re-listing as ‘sponsor of terrorism’
Seoul, March 4 (IANS) North Korea has warned the US that it will face serious repercussions after reported calls to re-list Pyongyang as a “sponsor of terrorism”, a media report said on Saturday.
“The US will keenly realise how dearly it has to pay for its groundless accusations against North Korea,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman told the state-owned Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) late Friday night.
The alleged assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Kuala Lumpur last month has raised calls by US lawmakers to relist Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terrorism, a classification that was lifted years ago under former President George W. Bush.
Kim Jong-nam was allegedly murdered by two women who have since been arrested and charged by Malaysian authorities, with South Korea accusing the North of recruiting and training them to attack the leader’s half-brother using a powerful VX nerve agent, a weapon of mass destruction, Efe news reported.
Pyongyang has repeatedly denied the accusations, blaming Malaysia for the death of Kim Jong-nam, and accusing Kuala Lumpur and Washington of conspiring with Seoul to shift responsibility to the North.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson said: “Pyongyang has consistently proved” that it opposes “all forms of terrorism and any support for it before the international community”.
The statement also went on to accuse the US of baselessly seeking to label the North a “sponsor of terrorism”, saying this demonstrates Washington’s “expression of inveterate repugnancy and hostile attitude towards (North Korea)”.
“No matter how the US again calls the DPRK (the official name for North Korea) as a ‘sponsor of terrorism’ in line with its standard and interests, the latter will never be a ‘sponsor of terrorism'”, the statement continued.
North Korea was originally listed as a state sponsor of terrorism after the 1987 attack by Pyongyang agents who allegedly detonated a bomb on a South Korean commercial airliner, killing all 115 people on board.
The Bush administration in 2008 withdrew Pyongyang from the list in an effort to improve diplomatic relations and after perceived progress thanks to the Six-Party talks to try to achieve nuclear disarmament in North Korea.
South Korea in February reportedly pushed the US to restore the North to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which currently includes Iran, Sudan and Syria.