State Department reviewing North Korea terror sponsor request

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Oct. 25, 2017 at 8:28 PM
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Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department confirmed Wednesday a request from the U.S. House of Representatives to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism is under review.

State Department spokeswoman Julia Mason said Wednesday if there is solid evidence that supports North Korea's re-designation as a state sponsor of terror, the Department would take immediate action, Radio Free Asia reported.

Mason also said the State Department examines all possible evidence to determine whether a country meets the criteria for sponsoring terrorism.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 16 in total, had sent a letter to the State Department calling for North Korea's relisting. Earlier, on Oct. 5, a group of U.S. senators had delivered a similar letter.

On Sunday U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, urged U.S. diplomats to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

"The Iran-Russia-North Korea sanctions bill enacted in August included legislation I introduced that requires the secretary of state to decide whether to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism within 90 days," Cruz wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times, adding the case of Otto Warmbier, Pyongyang's alleged "collusion with Iran to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles," and "support for Syria's chemical weapons program" are all reasons for relisting North Korea.

The move to further pressure Pyongyang for its nuclear weapons development comes after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act on Tuesday.

The legislation passed 415 to 2 and would ban U.S. financial institutions from engaging in business with people or entities associated with the North Korean government.

Violators could be fined up to $1 million or face up to 20 years in prison.

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