US President Donald Trump has designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, a move designed to punish the Asian nation over its nuclear and missile programs.
“Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago,” Trump declared on Monday while speaking about the designation at the start of a White House cabinet meeting.
“In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism including assassinations on foreign soil,” Trump claimed.
The situation between the United States
and North Korea has reached a very dangerous level and Trump instead of taking an initiative to lessen the tensions, has announced another hostile move against Pyongyang which is already under a wide array of US and UN sanctions.
The Trump administration has warned the United States
is ready to use its nuclear weapons against the country if it continues to threaten Washington or its allies.
North Korea has warned that it is “inevitable” that Pyongyang will launch a missile toward the mainland United States in revenge for Trump’s insults against Kim Jong-un.
And, Kim has said that Trump is “a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire,” who is “unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country.”
The terror designation of North Korea was lifted by then- US President George W. Bush in 2008, but Trump on Monday re-imposed it as a method of ratcheting up the pressure on Pyongyang.
“As we take this action today, our thoughts turn to Otto Warmbier and others affected by North Korean oppression,” Trump said.
Otto Warmbier, 22, spent 17 months in a North Korean jail over spying charges and was released to his family back in the US after falling into a coma due to a “severe neurological injury.” He died on June 19.
He had been convicted of crimes against the state for trying to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel in Pyongyang and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Trump warned that the US is preparing yet another round of sanctions to force Pyongyang to surrender its nuclear missile program.
“The Treasury Department will be announcing an additional sanction — and a large one — on North Korea,” he said. “This will be going on over the next two weeks and it will be the highest level of sanctions.”
“The North Korean regime must be lawful and end its unlawful nuclear ballistic missile development and cease all support for international terrorism, which it is not doing,” he warned.
The North Korean leader had ordered the production of more rocket warheads and engines months ago, shortly after the United States suggested that its threats of military action and sanctions were having an impact on Pyongyang’s behavior.
Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.