Trump Designating North Korea As A State Sponsor Of Terrorism

November 20, 2017

Updated at 1:20 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is putting North Korea back on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. President Trump says the move “supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate this murderous regime.”

President Trump told reporters on Monday that the Treasury Department will officially announce additional sanctions and penalties on the North Korean regime on Tuesday.

President Trump says this should have happened years ago. In fact, North Korea was on the list until 2008, when the Bush administration took it off, in an ultimately failed bid to salvage a denuclearization deal.

Trump’s move won praise from members of Congress, who supported legislation that paved the way for North Korea’s return to the blacklist.

“Over the past year alone, Kim Jong Un and his regime brazenly assassinated his brother with a chemical weapon and brutally tortured Otto Warmbier, leading directly to his tragic death,” writes House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif. “These aren’t isolated incidents, but are examples of a consistent pattern of terror.”

President Trump also mentioned Warmbier in his brief statement at the beginning of a Cabinet meeting on Monday where he made the announcement. Warmbier is the UVA student who was spent a year and a half in a North Korean jail only to return in a coma. He died a week later.

North Korea already faces ever-tightening U.S. and U.N. sanctions. The State Sponsors of Terrorism designation is mostly symbolic. Even after North Korea was taken off the list in 2008, sanctions remained in place. The other countries remaining on the list are Iran, Sudan and Syria.

NPR’s Arnie Seipel contributed to this report.

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