U.S. May Re-list North Korea as Terror Sponsor

June 8, 2009 Updated: June 8, 2009

Having removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in hopes of easing negotiations, the U.S. is contemplating putting the communist nation back on.

North Korea tested nuclear missiles last month, but so far the U.S. government has no firm basis to call North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism. But, in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the administration will be investigating the possibility that the North Korean regime supports terrorism.

This comes after the State department's assertion last week that North Korea's missile launch doesn't count legally as terrorism, according to spokesman Philip Crowley in a June 4 Bloomberg report.

The Bush administration removed North Korea from the terror list last October after Kim Jong Il let inspectors verify its nuclear declaration ahead of six-party disarmament talks. Pyongyang pulled out of negotiations after a missile test in April.

President Barack Obama called the North Korean missile test on May 25 “extraordinarily provocative.” Pyongyang launched six short-range missiles that landed in the Pacific Ocean west of Japan.

Ms. Clinton also said she expects the U.N. Security Council to issue a sanctions resolution against Pyongyang with the support of China and Russia. So far, the two countries have been reticent about North Korea's military actions, though Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed that he expects North Korea to return to the six-party talks.

If re-listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, North Korea would join Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria, and face financial and trade restrictions with the U.S.