U.S. House wants to put North Korea back on list of state terror sponsors

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would step up audits of state sponsors of terrorism, a measure that may affect North Korea as lawmakers are reconsidering Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terror.

House representatives on Tuesday unanimously adopted H.R. 5484, known as the State Sponsors of Terrorism Review Enhancement Act, Voice of America reported.

The passage of the bill comes at a time when more policymakers are calling for the reinstatement of North Korea to the list.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said since North Korea’s designation was removed in 2008 Pyongyang has breached promises, developed nuclear weapons and tested a nuclear device for the fifth time.

Royce added the bill is an important check against future government decisions that could recuse North Korea from the designation.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said North Korea has armed “organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas” and supported nuclear development in Syria and Iran.

Ros-Lehtinen also said the removal of both North Korea and Cuba from the list is an indication of shortcomings in current policy.

The bill extends the time limit – currently six months – during which the government in question has not provided support for international terrorism, to 24 months. The bill also stipulates terms that allow lawmakers to reject an executive decision to remove a country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

U.S. experts on North Korea are in agreement on Pyongyang’s reinstatement.

During a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia on Wednesday, analysts said North Korea has supplied Syria with chemical weapons, launched a cyberattack against Sony Pictures and issued public safety threats.

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