Controversy Surrounds 1987 KAL Bombing Case

    July 06, 2004 20:40

    Since the bombing of a KAL airliner in 1987, North Korea has been on the U.S. State Department's list of countries supporting terrorists. North Korea has made much effort to get off that list. From this context, North Korea’s announcement that it is willing to repatriate the Japanese radicals who hijacked a Japanese airliner in 1970 is connected with this effort. However, what is noticeable is that in South Korea, one of the countries victimized by terrorists, suspicion that the KAL bombing was manipulated has became controversial enough to have its own special TV program.

    So far, North Korea has denied the case. When Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Pyeongyang, they admitted indirectly that they were responsible for this case. The North admitted that Lee Eun-hye (Takuchi Yaeko), the then Japanese teacher of KAL bomber Kim Hyon-hee, was kidnapped. Since Kim Hyon-hee is the only person that knew Lee’s existence, this North Korea’s acknowledgement proves that Kim Hyon-hee was a North Korean spy.

    After the KAL was blown out of the sky on Nov. 29, 1987 and Kim was arrested, then-U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz designated North Korea a country supporting terrorists. Since then, the U.S. has demanded as conditions for taking North Korea off the list that ▲ the Japanese kidnapping issue be settled; ▲the Japanese Red Army members who fled to North Korea after hijacking a Japanese airliner in 1970 be sent to Japan; ▲ apology for the KAL bombing; and ▲agree to include itself in all anti-terrorism agreements.

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