Trump to Consider Adding North Korea Back to List of State Sponsors of Terrorism at End of Asia Trip

By Melanie Arter | November 8, 2017 | 11:58 AM EST

President Donald Trump (Screenshot of White House video)

( – The White House said Wednesday that President Donald Trump will determine at the end of his Asia trip whether or not to add North Korea to its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“The president said he would make a determination at the end of the trip, too. So he said I believe it was yesterday or at some point in the last couple of days … that he'd make a determination at the end of the trip,” a senior administration official said during a press gaggle on board Air Force One en route to Beijing, China.

North Korea has once been on the list, but was removed from the list in 2008 by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the administration of President George W. Bush. The decision was made when North Korea agreed to all of the Bush administration’s nuclear inspection demands and Pyongyang began disabling the Yongbyon nuclear facility and allowed nuclear inspectors back in, Fox News reported on Oct. 11, 2008.

A senior Trump administration official said Wednesday that the decision to remove North Korea from the state sponsors of terrorism list “didn’t work out.”

“Of course, they were designated as a state sponsor of terror. It was one of the things that a previous administration lifted that designation as part of a hopeful attempt to lure them into reversing the threat, and, of course, that didn't work out. So I'd remind that they clearly fit the criteria for a state sponsor of terror in a previous administration,” the official said.

Adding a country to the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism allows the U.S. to impose unilateral sanctions against the country and penalizes people and countries who “engage in certain trade” with state sponsors of terrorism.

“Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions,” the State Department said on its website.

“Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. Currently there are three countries designated under these authorities: Iran, Sudan, and Syria,” the website stated.

The assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam, could be reason enough to add the country to the United States list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Kim Jong Nam was killed in a Malaysian airport in February using a banned chemical nerve agent. Reports say Kim Jong Un killed his brother in an attempt to “instill fear among his doubters.”

Fox News reported that Kim Jong Nam was living abroad when he was killed. He fell out of favor with his father, Kim Jong Il, to lead the regime after he was arrested in 2001 trying to sneak into Japan to visit Tokyo Disneyland, so it was Kim Jong Un who ran the country when his father died six years ago.

Kim Jong Nam had survived two previous assassination attempts in 2010 and 2012 before his eventual death in 2017.

As previously reported, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said last week that adding North Korea to the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism was something that “the president’s cabinet is looking at as part of the overall strategy on North Korea.”

“A regime who murders someone in a public airport using nerve agents and a despotic leader who murders his brother in that matter, that’s clearly an act of terrorism that fits in with the range of other actions,” McMaster said.

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