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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