Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terrorism, triggers sanctions

Posted November 21, 2017

President Donald Trump said Monday he plans to re-designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Trump added that Pyongyang will face the "highest level of sanctions by the time it's finished" and that the designation will be formalized on Tuesday.

The North Korean newspaper then warned Mr Trump not to meddle in North Korean affairs following the recent escalation in tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. In mid-October, Trump turned down any diplomatic approach towards the DPRK in a message on his Twitter account.

Trump pointed to the assassinations ordered by North Korea dictator Kim Jong-Un, and the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died in June when he was released by North Korea after spending 17 months in captivity.

Putting North Korea back on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror ups the ante in Trump and Kim Jong-un's public battle, which has sometimes veered toward the personal.

During Trump's 12-day Asia trip this month, the president issued a warning to North Korea while addressing the South Korean National Assembly.

United States student Warmbier died this year, aged 22, after he was repatriated from detention in North Korea, already in a coma.

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"The Treasury Department will be announcing an additional sanction - and a large one - on North Korea", he said.

At the request of Warmbier's family, six Democratic and six Republican senators later urged the State Department to consider reinstating North Korea to the list.

Sanctions for North Korea and the other nations on the list include: "restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports of dual use items, and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions", according to the U.S. Department of State.

The White House has declared it will not tolerate Kim's regime testing or deploying an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to United States cities. Currently, the only countries on the list are Iran, Syria and Sudan. Countries placed on this list are determined by the secretary of state to have "repeatedly provided support for acts of global terrorism" and can face economic consequences as a result. Former President Barack Obama removed Cuba from the list in 2015.

North Korea said last week that it has no intention of ending its nuclear program, North Korea's Ambassador to the UN Han Tae-song. "So they should be put back on the list".

Thae was No. 2 in the North Korean embassy in London before he escaped with his wife and two sons, arriving in South Korea in 2016.