Trump Designates North Korea as 'State Sponsor of Terror'

Trump and Jong-un

Trump and Jong-un

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.

The U.S. State Department now lists Sudan, Syria and Iran as nations that have "repeatedly provided support for acts of global terrorism".

Mr Trump visited South Korea earlier this month as part of a 12-day trip to Asia, where he addressed the South Korean National Assembly and issued a warning to the North.

"In addition to threatening the world with nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of worldwide terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil".

While North Korea is widely regarded as one of the most oppressive governments in the world with respect to its own people, its involvement with worldwide terrorism is less prominent.

"As we take this action today, our thoughts turn to Otto Warmbier and others affected by North Korean oppression", Trump continued, underlining the legal case for the designation.

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

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White House officials telegraphed the move before Trump's departure. In Oct., House members wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to add North Korea to the list, citing the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, Kim Jong-Un's older brother.

Relations between the USA and North Korea have been fraught ever since President Trump took office. Also, it warns that it faces the hostility and the threats of the joint military exercises of the United States and the Republic of Korea in the Korean Peninsula.

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.

In the US, political uncertainty weighed on treasury yields and the dollar, underpinning a move higher in gold prices after reports surfaced that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was set to issue fresh subpoenas for the Trump campaign as part of investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

Former President Barack Obama removed Cuba from the list in 2015 and Bush, in addition to North Korea, removed Libya in 2006 and Iraq in 2004. Israel's biggest fear, he said, is the possibility that North Korea might develop nuclear weapons on behalf of Iran.

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.

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