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On Wednesday, the White House issued the following:

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Laura and I send greetings to all those observing North Korea Freedom Week. I am deeply concerned about the grave human rights conditions in North Korea, especially the denial of universal freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and association, and restrictions on freedom of movement and workers’ rights. I have met in the Oval Office with some of the brave individuals who have escaped from that country. I am deeply concerned by the stories of divided families, harsh conditions, and suffering. The United States stands with the North Korean people in their call for freedom. We believe it is every person’s basic right to live in freedom and dignity. We will continue to support the North Korean people as they strive to achieve the rights and freedoms to which they are entitled as human beings. We look forward to the moment when we can celebrate the blessings of liberty with the North Korean people.”

On the very same day, the State Department put out its “Country Reports on Terrorism.” Ominously, the section entitled “State Sponsors of Terrorism” had only these few words about

NORTH KOREA

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987. The DPRK continued to harbor four Japanese Red Army members who participated in a jet hijacking in 1970. The Japanese government continued to seek a full accounting of the fate of the 12 Japanese nationals believed to have been abducted by DPRK state entities; five such abductees have been repatriated to Japan since 2002. As part of the Six-Party Talks process, the United States reaffirmed its intent to fulfill its commitments regarding the removal of the designation of the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism in parallel with the DPRK’s actions on denuclearization and in accordance with criteria set forth in U.S. law.”

Of course, this paragraph ignores a fact that the U.S. intelligence community finally confirmed to Congress just last week: Thanks to Israeli military action, North Korea was stopped at the last minute from consummating one of the most serious acts of state-sponsored terrorism imaginable — completing a plutonium-production reactor in Syria clearly intended to facilitate the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Damascus and perhaps to others (including Syria’s liege lords, the mullahs of Iran).

Clearly, the State Department has no intention of joining President Bush in “celebrat[ing] the blessings of liberty with the North Korean people.” Instead, our emissary to the Six-Party Talks, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seem bent on colluding with Pyongyang to accomplish yet another phony “denuclearization” deal — and thus clear the way for the U.S. “to fulfill its commitments” by removing North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terror list. Never mind that so doing would afford financial life-support to the same North Korean regime whose repression President Bush says he is anxious to end.

President Bush prides himself on being a man of his word. Will he allow the ones he just issued on behalf of both the First Lady and himself to be flagrantly and ignominiously repudiated by his subordinates in Foggy Bottom?

– Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy.



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