Posted July. 24, 2009 07:35,
The U.S. Senate yesterday officially urged President Barack Obama to consider putting North Korea back on the U.S. terrorism blacklist.
In a 66-31 vote on a nonbinding measure offered by Democratic Senator John Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, congressional members asked the Obama administration to submit within 30 days a report assessing North Koreas actions after Pyongyang was removed from the U.S. terrorism list.
The measure demands that Washington present evidence of Pyongyangs assistance to terrorism organizations and its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. The Senate also asked the administration to assess the effectiveness of returning the North on the blacklist.
Calling North Korea a threat to Northeast Asia and international peace and security, the measure urged strict enforcement of existing international sanctions such as U.N. Security Council resolutions 1874 and 1718 and consideration of additional sanctions.
Along with Kerry, Senators Jim Webb, the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Carl Levin, who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, took the lead in offering the measure, which was included in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.
A measure led by Republican Senator Sam Brownback to urge the Obama administration to return North Korea on the terrorism blacklist, however, was rejected by a vote of 43-54.
Separately, Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters the same day that the United States has a wide range of options in the event of a leadership change in the North. He said U.S. forces in South Korea and others can immediately implement the options if the president tells us to execute those plans.
He also said, What would happen if and when (North Korean leader Kim Jong Il) cedes control or is no longer capable of exercising control -- dont know."