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Letter to Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State - North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We write to urge the Administration to re-designate North Korea on the State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) list. Under Kim Jong-un, the North Korean regime is continuing the same path of his father and grandfather before him, violating its international obligations and continuing its pursuit of a nuclear weapons arsenal.

North Korea is directly responsible for several international acts of terror, and it continues to maintain close ties with other SST listed regimes such as Iran and Syria. Below are just a few examples of why North Korea must be re-designated on the SST list:

In 2009 Thailand intercepted a cargo plane from North Korea carrying a large shipment of weapons and missile parts headed for Iran;

In 2009, three shipments of North Korean conventional arms bound for the foreign terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah were seized.

It is complicit in the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan on March 26, 2010, which resulted in the deaths of 46 South Korean naval personnel;

In 2010, Pyongyang dispatched a covert team of two North Korean military-trained agents to South Korea with orders to assassinate the late North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yop who were apprehended by South Korean officials, admitted to the plot and sentenced to 10 years;

It is responsible for the sudden and unprovoked bombardment by North Korean artillery of the civilian-populated South Korean island of Yeonpyeong-do on November 23, 2010, which resulted in the deaths of two South Korean civilians and two Republic of Korea (ROK) marines;

Last September, Tehran and Pyongyang signed a "scientific cooperation" agreement, which according to former CIA Director Woolsey, "appears effectively identical to the one the North Koreans signed with Syria in 2002, leading to the development of Syria's plutonium reactor."; and

Continues to share equipment, technology, expertise, and knowledge with Iran and Syria in their pursuit of WMDs, ballistic missiles, and nuclear capabilities.

Administration after administration, our approach to the North Korean regime has failed. This regime has actively opposed U.S. interests and undermined our national security, and it was a mistake to remove North Korea from the SST list. With the regime's recent threats, it is more important than ever to make it clear to our South Korean and Japanese allies that our support is unwavering and that we stand with them in the face of the rising threat from Pyongyang.

Recognizing the danger North Korea poses and the potential effectiveness of sanctions that deal with rogue regimes, we should continue to penalize and investigate financial institutions that continue to do business with North Korea, including Chinese institutions that make up the vast majority of North Korean imports and exports. Even though reports suggest that perhaps large Chinese companies are worried about being sanctioned for doing business with North Korea, smaller Chinese financial institutions may not halt their cooperation with the North Korean regime unless this designation is made. This increased pressure will show even North Korea's most trusted ally China that Pyongyang's belligerence should no longer be tolerated.

The United States must implement similar sanctions like the ones already on the books for Iran to further ratchet up the pressure on the Kim regime in an effort to stop its illicit activities. We cannot allow Pyongyang to continue with its reckless and dangerous behavior and we must prevent it from further sharing WMD and missile technology with other rogue regimes that would seek to harm the United States and our allies. For these reasons, we would like to know why this Administration does not believe North Korea is a State Sponsor of Terrorism and urge you to re-designate North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this important matter.


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