North Korea Declares Opposition to Terrorism
By Kurt Achin
10 June 2008
North Korea has publicly declared its commitment to battling terrorism, in a move apparently aimed at hastening its removal from a U.S. list of terror sponsoring nations. With talks to end North Korea's nuclear-weapons capabilities expected to resume soon, Pyongyang has also pledged to curb nuclear proliferation. VOA's Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
North Korea's Foreign Ministry issued a statement promising to "firmly maintain its consistent stand of opposing all forms of terrorism."
The statement also pledges the North will "fulfill its responsibility and duty in the struggle against terrorism."
North Korea is included on the U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism. It was placed there after North Korean agents were found to have bombed a South Korean airliner in 1988, killing 115 people. Five years earlier, a North Korean bomb attack in Burma killed several South Korean government ministers and more than a dozen others.
Washington has promised to remove the North from the terror list if Pyongyang makes progress on declaring and dismantling its nuclear-weapons programs.
South Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Russia reached an agreement with the North last year to trade financial and diplomatic incentives for gradual disarmament.
Sung Kim, director of the Office of Korean Affairs, 13 May 2008
Talks to implement the deal are expected to resume within weeks in Beijing. Senior U.S. envoy Sung Kim cd into North Korea to help lay the groundwork for that session.
In Seoul, South Korean Foreign Ministry official Hwang Joon-guk suggested a recent meeting between North Korean and Japanese officials may have produced some positive results.
He says he believes Japan has a "positive attitude" toward North Korea, and that Tokyo may contribute energy and economic assistance to the North in the future.
Japan has refused to provide material aid to the North until Pyongyang provides more cooperation on the issue of Japanese nationals abducted decades ago by North Korean agents.