Pyeongyang To Sign Two Pacts Against Terrorism

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Pyeongyang To Sign Two Pacts Against Terrorism

North Korea said on Sunday that it would sign two international treaties on combating terrorism, and spoke of its desire to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and to improve bilateral relations with United States.

Stressing that Pyeongyang opposes "all forms of terrorism and any aid to it," the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "We have decided to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, an important instrument of the international anti-terrorism struggle." He spoke in an interview with the North's Korean Central News Agency.

He said North Korea would also sign another UN convention, the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages.

With the announcement, Pyeong-yang moves forward on meeting the three requirements put forth by the United States for its removal from a list of state sponsors of terror, which would allow the North to receive aid from international financial institutions. The other conditions are a public denunciation of terrorism and the deportation of four Japanese Red Army members who hijacked a Japan Airlines plane to North Korea in 1970.

North Korea watchers said that signing the two treaties would not quickly translate into normalization of relations between Pyeongyang and Washington. Under the new international environment after the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States is expecting real benefits such as exchange of information concerning terrorists.

In June, the Washington proposed resumption of talks with North Korea, but progress has been glacial.

by Oh Young-whan

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