Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terrorism, triggers sanctions

by Garry Watts November 21, 2017, 0:21
Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terrorism, triggers sanctions

North Korea was taken off the US list of state sponsors of terror in 2008 during nuclear negotiations with the George W. Bush administration.

Only three other countries - Iran, Sudan and Syria - have been designated state sponsors of terrorism by the United States.

Trump's announcement comes days after his return from a five-nation tour of Asia, which focused on curbing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

"The North Korean regime must be lawful and end its unlawful nuclear ballistic missile development and cease all support for worldwide terrorism, which it is not doing".

Some members of Congress had been pushing for years for North Korea to be put back on the list, but others questioned whether the reclusive regime met the criteria of actively sponsoring global terrorism.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism is part of a push to continue "to turn the pressure up".

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Trump said the designation will impose further penalties on the country.

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

The designation places restrictions on trade with North Korea that are essentially already in place. However, lawyers said there had to be more than one incident, and there was disagreement over whether the treatment of American student Otto Warmbier, who died of injuries suffered in North Korean custody, constituted terrorism.

In February, plans for talks in the United States between former USA officials and North Korea were scrapped when the State Department denied a visa for a top envoy from Pyongyang after the murder of Kim's half brother, Kim Jong Nam, in Malaysia. Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years hard labor for the alleged theft of a propaganda poster from his North Korean hotel.

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. It limits USA foreign assistance, bans defense exports and sales, boost limits on exports of dual-use items and affects financial transactions, according to the State Department. Cuba had been on the list but was removed by President Barack Obama in 2015.

"The North Korean regime must be lawful", the president declared.


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