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US considers relisting N. Korea as state sponsor of terrorism: lawmaker

The United States is weighing the option of relisting North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism and strengthening joint military drills with South Korea and Japan, an opposition lawmaker here said Thursday.

Khang Hyo-shang of the Liberty Korea Party said that, during his recent trip to Washington, Joseph Yun, the US State Department's special representative for North Korea policy, told him that the option is under consideration to cope with the reclusive state's provocations.

This photo, taken on July 21, 2017, shows Khang Hyo-shang, the spokesman for the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, speaking during a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)
This photo, taken on July 21, 2017, shows Khang Hyo-shang, the spokesman for the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, speaking during a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)

"(Yun told me that) although no conclusion has been made yet, the State Department is considering relisting the North as a state sponsor of terrorism," Khang, the spokesman of the conservative party, told reporters.

While anticipating the North's additional provocations such as a sixth nuclear test, Yun said Washington is exploring additional economic sanctions to deepen the North's international isolation.

Last month, the US left the North off its latest list of state sponsors of terrorism despite expectations that Washington could use the redesignation to ratchet up pressure on the recalcitrant regime.

The North was first put on the list in 1988 for an airliner bombing that killed all 115 people aboard. In 2008, the designation was canceled in exchange for progress in multilateral denuclearization talks.

State terrorism sponsors face restrictions on US foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, and financial and other sanctions.

Following the North's two tests last month of what it claims to have been an intercontinental ballistic missile, Seoul, Washington and other partner countries have been discussing coordinated punitive measures.

Asked about the "regime change" issue, Yun was quoted as saying that it is for putting pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and that under new sanctions, the North would, in the end, come to the negotiating table. (Yonhap)

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