President Trump declares North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism

President Donald Trump has declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism. The designation will impose further penalties on Pyongyang.

“Today the United States is designating North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism,” Trump declared from the White House on Monday. “It should have happened a long time ago, should have happened years ago.”

“In addition to threatening the world with nuclear devastation, North Korea has supported international acts of terrorism including assassinations on foreign soil,” Trump added.

President Trump declares North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism (2)

US has accused Pyongyang of killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother in a Malaysian airport this year, declaring it an act of terrorism.

“The North Korean regime must be lawful, must end its nuclear ballistic missile development and cease all support for international terrorism, which it is not doing,” remarked Trump, sitting next to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The president also brought up the case Otto Warmbier, an American student who was arrested and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labor while visiting North Korea as a tourist in January 2016. Warmbier was convicted of attempted theft. One month after his sentencing, Warmbier suffered a severe neurological injury and was in a comatose state for 17 months. Diplomatic efforts lead to his release in June, but he died six days later. US officials blame North Korea for his death.

“This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons, and supports our massive pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime you’ve all been reading about and in some cases, writing about,” Trump said.

The Treasury Department will announce additional sanctions against Pyongyang on Tuesday. North Korea already faces a barrage of UN sanctions, including restrictions on fuel imports and guest workers.

In September, the Trump administration sanctioned eight North Korean banks and 26 individuals said to act as the banks’ representatives in various countries, including China, Russia, Libya and the United Arab Emirates. A week prior, Trump signed an executive order targeting North Korea’s access to the international banking system.

Prior to North Korea’s designation, the countries the US considered state sponsors of terrorism were Iran, Sudan, and Syria.