U.S. to continue seeking Pyongyang’s action on terrorism

U.S. to continue seeking Pyongyang’s action on terrorism

WASHINGTON, April 18 Kyodo

The United States will continue to urge North Korea to stop providing shelter to Japanese terrorists who have been in the country following their 1970 hijacking, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.

The demand will continue to be a condition for the North to be taken off the list of countries the U.S. says are sponsoring terrorists, the official said.

Washington will also continue to seek Pyongyang’s action on the alleged abduction of a dozen Japanese citizens by the North in order for the country to be removed from the terrorist-supporting list, the official said.

No progress was made on the North’s removal from the list when the U.S. showed these demands to Pyongyang during high-level talks in New York in March.

In New York, the U.S. pressed North Korea to stop sponsoring former members of the Japanese Red Army faction who have been in North Korea for years following their hijacking of a Japan Airlines plane in 1970.

Also at issue at the New York meeting was Japan’s claim that at least 10 Japanese nationals were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

The U.S. has set four conditions for the North to be taken off the state terrorist list.

These include North Korea’s pledge in writing not to engage in terrorist activities, proving it has not engaged in any terrorist activities in the past six months and Pyongyang joining an international pact created to prevent terrorist activities.

The U.S. has also urged the North to take action to deal with its past terrorist activities or suspected sponsoring of terrorists.

The New York meeting was designed to pave the way for a high-ranking North Korean official to visit Washington but the deadlock in the terrorist-list issue is expected to make the official’s visit in the near future difficult.

Pyongyang has said it will not send a high-ranking official to Washington unless the country is first removed from the list.

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