WASHINGTON – The apparent assassination of the North Korean leader’s estranged half-brother is strengthening bipartisan calls for the U.S. to re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, a designation lifted nine years ago.
Doing so would increase the country’s isolation, while potentially complicating any future diplomacy to halt its nuclear and missile programs.
The U.S. kept North Korea on its terrorism blacklist for two decades after the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner. But President George W. Bush lifted the designation in 2008 to smooth the way for aid-for-disarmament negotiations that later collapsed.
Last June, the State Department said North Korea is not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the plane attack 30 years ago. House lawmakers are pushing for a fresh review of the evidence.