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Report: North Korea May Have Aided Hezbollah and Tamil Tigers

By VOA News
13 December 2007

A report prepared for U.S. lawmakers says North Korea may have provided arms and training to terrorist organizations in Lebanon and Sri Lanka.

The Congressional Research Service report, obtained by the Reuters and Yonhap news agencies Wednesday, casts doubt on what it says is the long-standing U.S. view that North Korea halted such activities in 1987.

CRS cited French and South Korean sources alleging North Korea has provided more recent support for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. The report also mentioned a Japanese newspaper report in September that Pyongyang sold arms to the Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka.

A U.S. State Department spokesman on Thursday said the department is aware of the report. But spokesman Sean McCormack declined to comment on the report's sources.

North Korea claimed in September that the United States is prepared to remove it from a State Department list of state supporters of terrorism as part of a nuclear disarmament deal. U.S. officials have denied the claim.

The top negotiator in North Korean nuclear talks has said Pyongyang must prove that it is not engaged in terrorist activity before it can be removed from the list.

North Korea has been on the U.S. list since 1988 after a North Korean agent confessed to the 1987 bombing of a South Korean passenger jet that killed all 115 people on board.

The list prevents North Korea from buying arms or receiving economic aid from the United States, and from receiving loans from the World Bank and other multi-lateral bodies.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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