The recent murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half brother will likely bolster the ongoing move in the United States to add the North to the list of states sponsoring terrorism if Pyongyang is proved to have been involved in the death, a senior foreign ministry official in Seoul said Thursday.
Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of late former leader Kim Jong-il, died on Feb. 13 at an airport in Kuala Lumpur after apparently being poisoned by two Asian women. He was waiting for a flight to Macau where his residence is located.
Malaysian police named eight North Koreans, including a diplomat, as suspects and four of them appeared to have already returned to Pyongyang. The North denies it is behind the murder.
|Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam (Yonhap)|
"A bill to put the North back on the terrorism list was proposed in US Congress earlier this year ... and against this backdrop came the murder of Kim Jong-nam," Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam told lawmakers during a parliamentary committee meeting on foreign affairs.
"When Malaysian authorities complete a thorough review of related facts and announce (the results), it could give momentum to the relisting issue," he added. "The government will, of course, have necessary consultations with the U.S. on the matter."
North Korea was placed on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism after it was found to have been involved in the midair bombing of a Korean Air passenger plane in 1987 that killed 115 people on board. It was removed from the list in 2008 in tandem with progress in denuclearization talks.
A US House member introduced a bill calling for North Korea to be placed back on the terrorism list in January in the wake of its increasing provocative acts. (Yonhap)