NORTH KOREA has been reclassified by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism, a move intended to place further pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear programme and welcomed by Japan and South Korea.
President Donald Trump announced the move during a Cabinet meeting on Monday, which he declared “should have happened a long time ago.”
“In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“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.”
On Tuesday, the leaders of the US’ regional allies South Korea, Japan and Australia welcomed the action. South Korea’s foreign ministry said it expected the listing to contribute to peaceful denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula and bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table.
“I welcome and support (the designation) as it raises the pressure on North Korea,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as quoted by the country’s Kyodo news agency.
On the same day it was put back on the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list, North Korea is threatening to annihilate Japan. pic.twitter.com/Delx3PlJNP
— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) November 21, 2017
“Kim Jong Un runs a global criminal operation from North Korea peddling arms, peddling drugs, engaged in cyber-crime and of course threatening the stability of region with his nuclear weapons,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Sydney.
“So we strongly welcome that decision and it mirrors the determination of the international community on bringing North Korea back to its senses.”
Trump has repeatedly blamed past administrations for not being able to “solve the problem” of the North’s nuclear weapons amid escalating tensions. He has warned that Pyongyang will face “fire and fury” if it does not stop threatening the US and its allies.
North Korea was previously on the list but removed under the administration of former President George W. Bush in 2008. It re-joins the likes of Syria and Iran, identified by the State Department as having supported acts of international terrorism.