Trump Says US Will Label North Korea a State Sponsor of Terror

Donald Trump declares North Korea a state sponsor of terror

01:39

Donald Trump declares North Korea a state sponsor of terror 01:39

"Should have happened a long time ago", Trump told reporters at the beginning of a Monday morning Cabinet meeting. "And do not try us", Trump said.

But US officials see the designation - lifted by then-president George W. Bush in 2008 - as a way of ratcheting up the pressure on Pyongyang and especially on other states that may be failing to fully enforce the sanctions already in place.

"Today, I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilised nations, when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us". Cuba had been on the list but was removed by President Barack Obama in 2015. With Iran, Sudan, and Syria also being on the list administered by the State Department, exactly what does being a state sponsor of terror mean?

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. "This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons, and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime that you've all been reading about and, in some cases, writing about", the president said.

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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 US mainland.

United Nations spokesperson Farhan Haq said the UN has "nothing to say" about the U.S. designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

President Donald Trump has announced the U.S. is putting North Korea's "murderous regime" on America's terrorism blacklist.

The Los Angeles Times reports that officials are citing the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of Kim Jong-un, as an act of terror. A country must "repeatedly provided support for acts of worldwide terrorism" to get the label from the U.S. government.

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Other analysts said Pyongyang could use the designation as a pretext for renewed weapons tests after a two-month hiatus.

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

"A few years ago after North Korea's cyberhack of Sony Pictures, it threatened a 9/11-style attack against U.S. movie theaters", Ruggiero said.

Adding them back to the list will also increase the effectiveness of sanctions, he added.

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