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DATE=9/6/2000
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
TITLE=NORTH KOREA / AIRPORT SECURITY
NUMBER=5-46972
BYLINE=NICK SIMEONE
DATELINE=WASHINGTON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO:  North Korea is warning the United States it 
might take action in response to what it says was rude 
and provocative treatment of a senior government 
delegation travelling to a meeting at the United 
Nations in New York.  The government in Pyongyang says 
the delegation was asked to submit to body searches 
before members could board an American Airlines flight 
at Frankfurt, Germany on Monday.  The North Korean 
delegation refused to undergo the searches and 
returned home.  But as V-O-A's Nick Simeone reports, 
U-S aviation authorities say the airline security 
personnel were following proper procedures.
TEXT:  Air travelers routinely go through body 
searches at airports, especially during times of 
heightened states of alert.  But North Korea says 
members of its New York-bound delegation were ordered 
to undress and be searched more thoroughly than other 
travelers. 
American Airlines won't talk about the matter, other 
than to say it has apologized for the incident.  The 
U-S Federal Aviation Administration says the airline's 
security personnel did nothing wrong, since North 
Korea is designated by the United States as a country 
that supports terrorism.  Seth Young is a professor of 
aviation and airport management at Florida's Embry-
Riddle Aeronautical University.
            /// YOUNG ACT ///
      If, in the case of the North Korean incident, 
      these people were expected to be at a summit, 
      any advance notice that these people were going 
      to be there to give the security a heads-up may 
      have prevented this incident all together.  I 
      don't know if the security team was briefed on 
      what was going to happen and when they saw a 
      North Korean person walk through, someone got 
      suspicious and gave them the full search.
            /// END ACT ///
In fact, a State Department official admits the 
situation could have been avoided if the North Korean 
delegation had informed the United States of its 
travel plans in advance.  Some of the normal security 
procedures could then have been waived.
Arthur Morgan, an airport security expert who has 
worked for governments around the world, thinks 
security personnel at Frankfurt airport probably had 
no idea who the North Koreans were.
            /// MORGAN ACT ///
      Any emissary of a sovereign nation has the right 
      to travel unimpeded unless it's considered a 
      threat to the civilian personnel nearby and that 
      would mean he would have been carrying some type 
      of explosives.  It was field people just acting 
      on procedure and they were not sensitive to the 
      individuals they were dealing with.  They were 
      treating them more like criminals.
            /// END ACT ///
Washington has expressed regret over the incident and 
has let the Pyongyang government know the mishap 
should not be allowed to derail what have been warming 
relations between both countries.   (SIGNED)
NEB/NJS/JP
06-Sep-2000 15:40 PM LOC (06-Sep-2000 1940 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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