EOUL, North Korea strongly condemned the United States for considering returning Pyongyang to a list of terrorism sponsors, and warned South Korea ahead of working-level talks at Panmunjom.
Pyongyang’s state-controlled newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated in an editorial issued Wednesday that the United States would be engaging in a “serious provocation” if it were to re-designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terror, Yonhap reported.
“The United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism aims to create instability for sovereign nations, it is a criminal document that must be abolished,” North Korea stated.
North Korea was placed on a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism after a 1987 midair bombing of a Korean Air flight that resulted in 115 deaths onboard. In 2008, North Korea was removed from the list in exchange for its willingness to engage in denuclearization talks.
Washington had reconsidered placing North Korea back on the list after the FBI said Pyongyang was responsible for the 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures. On Oct. 22, Hillary Batjer Johnson, the deputy coordinator for Homeland Security in the Bureau of Counterterrorism, had said North Korea is still designated as a state “not fully cooperating” with U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
North Korea suggested U.S. policy was hypocrisy, and said that Washington is openly committing acts of terror on the world stage in order to achieve its own objectives.
“Iraq, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine are proof…the real state sponsor of terror is none other than the United States,” North Korea said in statement.
Pyongyang also said the United States should stop the spread of anti-Pyongyang propaganda and has said it has sent condolences to Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The statement, Pyongyang said, is proof North Korea takes a “principled stand” against acts of terror.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, North Korea urged the South to make efforts to improve relations, and credited its leadership for a “positive and practical willingness” to better ties with Seoul, while the South has “not changed” since reaching an agreement on Aug. 25 to defuse tensions.
Pyongyang said it condemned the South for allowing the USS Ronald Reagan into the port city of Busan and for criticizing North Korea’s human rights record and nuclear weapons development.