US senator urges Obama to put North Korea back on terror list
A top Democratic Senator has said that US President Barack Obama should put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Sen. Robert Menendez from New Jersey, the outgoing head of the Senate’s foreign relations panel, said on Sunday that he was pushing Secretary of State John Kerry to put the Asian nation back on the list of countries that support terrorism.
President Obama recently announced new sanctions against the country as the “first step,” in retaliation to the alleged hacking of Sony Pictures which the FBI claims to be done by North Korea.
Last month, Obama said North Korea was responsible for the hacking that initially canceled the screening of a movie about the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
He said that he would review the evidence to see if Pyongyang is sponsoring terrorism.
“I don't think it was an act of war. I think it was an act of cyber vandalism that was very costly, very expensive,” Obama said. “We take it very seriously.”
“You know, the one thing I disagree … with the president on is when he characterized the action here against Sony by North Korea as an act of vandalism. Vandalism is when you break a window,” Menendez told CNN.
“Terrorism is when you destroy a building. And what happened here is that North Korea landed a virtual bomb on Sony's parking lot, and ultimately had real consequences to it as a company and to many individuals who work there,” the top Democratic senator added.
Menendez also said Kerry had not yet responded to his request, but he looked “forward to engaging him when he appears before the committee in the new year.”
Some Republicans also support adding North Korea to the terror sponsors list.
Last month, incoming Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain condemned the hacking.
“It's more than vandalism, it's a new form of warfare that we're involved in and we need to react and react vigorously, including re-imposing sanctions.”