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Clinton says North Korea could return to terror list

Washington Post / June 8, 2009
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WASHINGTON - The United States could reinstate North Korea on a list of state sponsors of terrorism, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday on ABC's "This Week" as the administration continued to ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang after recent nuclear and missile tests.

"Well, we're going to look at it," Clinton said when asked about a letter last week from Republican senators demanding that North Korea be put back on the list.

"There's a process for it," said Clinton. "Obviously we would want to see recent evidence of their support for international terrorism."

The administration is also pushing for a UN Security Council resolution that would punish the country financially and give the international community the power to interdict suspect North Korean cargo, but Clinton acknowledged that some countries have "legitimate concerns" about targeting international shipments.

"We will do everything we can to both interdict it and prevent it and shut off their flow of money," Clinton said. "If we do not take significant and effective action against the North Koreans now, we'll spark an arms race in Northeast Asia. I don't think anybody wants to see that."

"And so part of what we're doing," Clinton said, "is again sharing with other countries our calculus of the risks and the dangers that would lie ahead if we don't take very strong action."

The North conducted its second nuclear test last month, test-fired short-range missiles, and announced that it was no longer bound by the 1953 armistice that ended hostilities on the Korean peninsula. President Obama on Saturday called North Korea's actions "extraordinarily provocative."

Newt Gingrich, appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," welcomed Clinton's statement.

"I was delighted to see that they are responding to North Korean threats with a serious proposal," said the former House speaker.

"In the long run, we're going to have to find a strategy that uses diplomatic and economic means to replace the current dictatorship," said Gingrich, a Republican. "I mean, this is - this is an inevitably terrifying dictatorship that is desperately trying to get enough nuclear weapons."