In a recent letter to the chairman of the UN Counterterrorism Committee, Sin Son Ho, the permanent representative of North Korea to the United Nations, says there are no grounds for terrorist activities in his country.
According to Sin, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is “one large harmonious family where all people live in single-hearted unity." It is also a “politically stable country where there are no social or institutional sources that may give rise to terrorism."
Despite its firm stand that there are no grounds for terrorism in North Korea, the letter cites relevant articles in the DPRK’s penal code concerning terrorist activities. The penalties are described as “reform through labor."
The letter says that Pyongyang has taken a series of measures to raise awareness in its citizens because “the moves of hostile forces abroad aimed at overthrowing its system have gone beyond the danger limits in recent years.”
Another interesting element in the letter is the description of immigration procedures for foreigners in North Korea, a country which requires exit visa not only for its own citizens but for visiting foreigners, as well. It states that if a foreigner possesses a “soiled” document, he/she shall not leave the country.
Although the DPRK has been a UN member since 1991, its diplomats make public appearances only rarely and as a rule do not speak to journalists.
Ambassador Sin’s predecessor, Pak Kil-Yon, made statements in English outside the UN Security Council in 2006 and 2007 when the issue of North Korea's nuclear activities was discussed, but he never responded to questions.
North Korea officially has eight staff members at its UN mission in New York but is one of a handful of states that do not have a UN website.
Ambassador Sin distinguished himself in October 2008 by being the first North Korean official to acknowledge at a UN General Assembly session that Pyongyang had developed a nuclear weapon.
-- Nikola Krastev