Ruling party Rep. Ha Tae-keung said Wednesday he submitted a bill allowing the South Korean government to place groups and individuals on the foreign terrorist list in the absence of a United Nations designation.
Ha said the proposed amendment to the laws on counter-terrorism would let the prime minister, whose role is largely administrative and ceremonial, designate Hamas as a terrorist organization without having to wait for a designation by the UN.
Hamas is an Islamist militant movement responsible for the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and is already listed as a terrorist organization by the US and the EU.
Ha, who is on the National Assembly’s foreign affairs committee, said only the organizations listed by the UN as terrorists are recognized as such under the existing laws in Korea.
“This poses hurdles for our country to punish those supporting or otherwise associating with potential foreign terrorists not yet recognized by the UN,” he said in a release.
“At a time when the world is witnessing a rise of terrorism, South Korea should be able to directly name foreign terrorists and impose sanctions on groups that threaten peace and security to stop violent, anti-humanitarian actions.”
Last month, Ha and other ruling party lawmakers co-authored a resolution that condemned Hamas for its attacks against Israel on Oct. 7 that killed about 1,200 people as “anti-humanitarian” and called for peaceful solutions.