North Korea accused of upping 'material support' for terrorism
A new report urges Washington to consider placing Pyongyang back on list of state sponsors of terror after arms deals and cyber attacks
North Korea has increased its “material support” for terrorist organisations and should be placed back on the United States list of nations that are state sponsors of terrorism, a report released on Monday said.
The Pyongyang regime, at the time under the command of Kim Jong-il, was taken off the list in 2008 under President George W Bush, who hoped to engage the reclusive nation in dialogue.
But according to a new report, written by North Korea expert Joshua Stanton for the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), US standards for defining a state sponsor of terror are “vague and inconsistent”.
North Korea’s recent conduct poses a particular threat to human rights activists and dissidents in exile
Titled “Arsenal of Terror”, the report recommends that the US Congress and State Department clarify the legal standards that define state sponsorship of terrorism and consider re-listing North Korea as a sponsor.
“Since 2008, North Korea has increased its use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy, and also appears to have increased its material support for designated terrorist organisations,” HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu said.
“North Korea’s recent conduct poses a particular threat to human rights activists and dissidents in exile. It has also repeatedly threatened the civilian population of South Korea and other nations, including the United States,” he added.
The US currently lists Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba as state sponsors of terrorism, though it is expected to remove Cuba as part of a historic rapprochement with the communist island.
The report details several instances of North Korea’s alleged support of terrorism.
In 2009, just one year after it was removed from the blacklist, there were several interceptions of North Korean shipments “to Iran and its terrorist clients [that] evidenced the importance of North Korea’s role as a supplier of arms to terrorists backed by Iran,” the report states.
“News reports have alleged that these arms were destined for Iran’s terrorist clients, including Hezbollah and Hamas,” Stanton writes in the report.
Stanton also details several cyber attacks that have been blamed on North Korea, including last year’s hack of Sony Pictures.
Washington accuses Pyongyang of being behind the breach that led to the release of embarrassing company emails and caused Sony executives to halt the debut of the film satirising the DPRK, The Interview.
The report describes several other suspected North Korea cyber attacks, including 35 that took place in 2009 against US and South Korean government and commercial websites.