North Korea and State Terror
Charles K. Armstrong - Associate Professor of History, Director, Center for Korean Research, Columbia University
One of the current impediments in US-DPRK relations is the presence of North Korea on the US State Department list of ‘state sponsors of terrorism.’ North Korea has been on this list since 1988, even though, according to the State Department itself, the DPRK has not sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987. In the Six-Party Agreement of February 13, 2007, the United States promised to ‘begin the process of removing the designation of the DPRK as a state-sponsor of terrorism.’ What are the justifications for North Korea to remain designated as a state that sponsors terrorism? What in fact constitutes ‘state-sponsored terrorism,’ for the United States and in general? Is state terror only committed by ‘rogue nations’ such as North Korea, or can other states, including perhaps the US, be considered perpetrators of state terror? Focusing on North Korea’s apparent turn to terror tactics in the 1970s in 1980s, this talk will explore the history of North Korea’s relationship to state terror and the possibilities for moving beyond the stigma of a ‘terror state’ toward a more normal relationship with the US and the world.