President Trump said Monday he plans to declare Kim Jong Un’s government a state sponsor of terrorism, as he seeks to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
“The North Korean regime must be lawful. It must end its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile development, and cease all support for international terrorism – which it is not doing,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House.
In decrying Kim’s “murderous regime,” Trump cited the recent death of American citizen Otto Warmbier after he was taken into custody in North Korea. He also appeared to reference North Korea’s support of an assassination of Kim’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam, a political rival who sustained a nerve agent attack at a Malaysia airport in February.
“In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism including assassinations on foreign soil,” Trump said.
Trump made the announcement one week after returning from a trip to Asia, where he asked China and other countries in the region to tighten the financial and diplomatic vise on North Korea.
As part of that effort, Trump said his Treasury Department on Tuesday will announce an additional economic sanction on North Korea, and “it will be the highest level of sanctions by the time it’s finished over a two-week period.”
Trump said the terror declaration “should have happened a long time ago.” Yet the United States has previously declared North Korea to be a state sponsor of terrorism – for two decades, in fact, from 1988 to 2008.
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SOURCE: USA Today, David Jackson and Deirdre Shesgreen