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North Korea Sponsors Terrorism

But not according to the State Department.

4:22 PM, Aug 13, 2013 • By JOSHUA STANTON
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Beginning in 2011, North Korea launched an assassination campaign against its critics abroad. Its signature weapons are syringes disguised as pens, and loaded with neostigmine bromide - a poison five times more lethal than potassium cyanide. One victim was Patrick Kim, a South Korean human rights activist who was in Dandong, China, aiding North Korean refugees.  One day in August 2011, Kim collapsed on the street and, according to an account in the Los Angeles Times, was found with "a discolored complexion, spots on his fingers and limbs, and flecks of foam on his mouth." He died a few minutes later. Another activist survived a similar attack in Dandong that month, also after being stuck with a needle by a stranger.  

Other North Korean agents have been convicted of attempting to assassinate senior defector Hwang Jang-yop and defector-activist Park Sang-hak, who floats leaflets into his homeland with balloons.  In 2011, South Korean police arrested a North Korean agent who was on his way to meet and kill Park. The police later showed the assassin's weapons to reporters. 

North Korea belongs on the list of state sponsors of terrorism because its conduct meets the legal definition of that term. As long as North Korea suffers no adverse consequences for its terrorism, it will continue to murder human rights activists and dissidents in exile who risk their lives to bring us the truth about their homeland.  In a land of scarcity, truth may be North Korea's scarcest commodity of all.  Sadly, the truth about North Korea is becoming increasingly scarce in Foggy Bottom, too.

Joshua Stanton blogs at He has served as an Army Judge Advocate in South Korea and as a Fellow at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, advising on North Korea-related legislation.  The views expressed are his own.

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