To the Editor:
Jed Meltzer GRD ’06 (“North Korea’s regime deplorable, but not terrorist,” 2/22) makes astute observations regarding the present situation on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea is indeed an “isolationist state, a totalitarian regime concerned with the perpetuation of its own power in a world that has turned against it.” But Meltzer is egregiously incorrect when he describes the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as “not a terrorist state.”
Past practice tends to elucidate North Korea’s appetite for terrorism. Since the unofficial end of the Korean War in 1953, North Korea has committed uncountable terrorist acts against the South.
In 1983, in Burma, North Korean agents killed 17 senior Korean officials in a failed attempt to assassinate South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan.
In 1987, North Korean spies blew up a South Korean civilian airliner, killing all 115 people aboard.
In 1996, 26 North Korean submarine commandos landed on South Korea’s western coast, with 24 being killed during the ensuing manhunt. The list of terrorist attacks by the North on the South is horrifically extensive.
North Korea’s terrorist activities extend beyond the Peninsula. Since the 1970s, North Korea has harbored at least four Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction terrorists responsible for the hijacking of a JAL flight to North Korea.
The U.S. State Department’s annual “Pattern of Global Terrorism” report for 1999 links North Korea with Osama bin Laden.
According to the 2000 report, North Korea has ties to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines. According to numerous other reports, North Korea continues to deal long-range missiles and biological and chemical arms to countries suspected of sponsoring terrorism, such as Angola, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and insurgent groups such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Burmese United Wa State Army. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that North Korea acts as a global terrorist state.
I, too, am disappointed with President Bush’s remarks labeling North Korea part of a global “axis of evil.” Without further clarification, the reference will not prove constructive to an already fractured peace and reunification process.
While I do not believe that making such a statement was prudent, I do believe that the description is justified.
S.J. Yoon ’00
February 22, 2002