U.S. to Redesignate North Korea as State Sponsor of Terror

Kim Jong-un 'punishes top military officials for

President Donald Trump on Monday declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, a designation that allows the United States to impose additional sanctions and risks inflaming tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs. In fact, it did: From 1988 to 2008, North Korea was on the USA list of state sponsors of terrorism, which includes Iran (since 1984), Sudan (since 1993), and Syria (since 1979).

"It should have happened years ago", Trump said, according to the pool.

As Trump announced his decision Monday, he said the Treasury Department would also announce new sanctions on North Korea on Tuesday.

Trump added today that Pyongyang's is a "murderous regime", and demanded that it "end its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile development".

USA officials involved in the internal deliberations said there was no debate over whether the slaying of half-brother Kim Jong Nam was a terrorist act. Two women are on trial for poisoning Kim Jong-nam with VX gas in a Malaysian airport last February.

North Korea was removed from the list by President George W. Bush in 2008.

"We've had the North Koreans on the state sponsor of terror before..."


Relations between the USA and North Korea have been fraught ever since President Trump took office.

North Korea is pursuing nuclear weapons and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions and has made no secret of its plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the USA mainland.

Under sanctions legislation signed by Trump in August, the State Department was required to report to Congress earlier this month whether it will re-designate North Korea.

"The North Korean regime must be lawful".

Although tragic, the Warmbier case does not seem to meet the statutory criteria for global terrorism, says Daniel Pinkston, who specializes in Northeast Asian security issues at Troy University in Seoul. Israel's biggest fear, he said, is the possibility that North Korea might develop nuclear weapons on behalf of Iran.

But "those odds are basically at zero anyway", Pinkston says. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on USA foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions. "Well, we're not going to do that in either case", Hill says.

"I don't know the legal justification for putting them back on, but if it's just being an overall bad pain in the neck, they more than qualify", Hill says.

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