In an expected move on Monday, Nov. 20, President Trump announced his administration would return North Korea to the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Under U.S. law, a nation which “repeatedly provides support for acts of international terrorism” can be designated a state sponsor of terrorism.
Referring to the February murder of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s brother, Kim Jong-nam, in Kuala Lumpur and the circumstances which led to the death of an American student, Otto Warmbier, imprisoned in the hermit country, Trump said:
“In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil.”
Similarly, Trump declared North Korea a “murderous regime” and stated Pyongyang should have been returned to the state sponsor terrorism list “years ago.”
A day prior, North Korea issued a scathing commentary about Trump’s recent visit to South Korea, accusing the U.S. president of insulting “the state and social system of the DPRK and the life of its people. This thrice-cursed crime can never be pardoned.”
“Trump had better pay heed to the despicable plight of his country, the dark empire of evils under worldwide criticism, before poking his nose into others’ things,” it read.
North Korea initially joined the state sponsored terror list in 1988 after North Korean agents placed an explosive device on a South Korean commercial airliner, killing 115 civilian passengers.
Twenty years later, North Korea was removed as terror sponsor in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush over Pyongyang’s vow to dismantle its Yongbyon nuclear facility and allow regular inspections.
The move allows Trump to impose further sanctions on Pyongyang, restricting the North’s ability to finance its activities. Trump pledged to expand sanctions in the Cabinet meeting.
Trump’s declaration returning North Korea to the list of terror sponsors places North Korea among three nations, Iran, Sudan, and Syria as state designated as sponsors of terrorism.
[BBC] [Roll Call] [KCNA Watch] [Photo courtesy Electronic Urban Report]