(CNSNews.com) – President Donald Trump on Monday announced that the U.S. is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, citing its nuclear threat as well as supporting acts of international terrorism, including assassinations.
The designation will allow further sanctions against North Korea.
“I want to begin this morning by meeting and by talking about the fact that we will be instituting a very critical step, and that will start right now. Today, the United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. It should have happened a long time ago. It should have happened years ago,” Trump said.
“In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil,” he said.
The president also cited the death of Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months and tortured before being sent back to the U.S., where he later died.
“As we take this action today, our thoughts to turn to Otto Warmbier, a wonderful young man, and the countless others so brutally affected by the North Korean oppression,” Trump said.
“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,” he added.
The Treasury Department to announce “an additional sanction, and a very large one, on North Korea” on Tuesday, Trump said. “This will be going on over the next two weeks. It will be the highest level of sanctions by the time it's finished over a two-week period.”
“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,” the president added.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, North Korea was once on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror until 2008, when it was taken off the list by the George W. Bush administration. Bush had considered North Korea, Iran and Iraq part of what he called an “axis of evil.”