USA to Redesignate North Korea as State Sponsor of Terror

USA to Redesignate North Korea as State Sponsor of Terror

The move returns North Korea to the list of countries the USA views as state sponsors of terror for the first time since 2008.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks about his recent trip to Asia in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2017.

US officials cited the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half brother in a Malaysian airport in February as an act of terrorism.

Some members of Congress had been pushing for years for North Korea to be put back on the list, but others questioned whether the reclusive regime met the criteria of actively sponsoring worldwide terrorism.

Trump's announcement came before a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

The official added that the country "clearly fit the criteria for a state sponsor of terror in a previous administration".

The Los Angeles Times reports that officials are citing the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of Kim Jong-un, as an act of terror.

In any case, it will do little to open the way for USA dialogue with North Korea, which China and others have been pushing for.

"Over the past year alone, Kim Jong Un and his regime brazenly assassinated his brother with a chemical weapon and brutally tortured Otto Warmbier, leading directly to his tragic death", the California Republican said in a statement.

Trump made the announcement one week after returning from a trip to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

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.

The White House has declared it will not tolerate Kim's regime testing or deploying an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to United States cities. Cuba had been on the list but was removed by President Barack Obama in 2015.

There is also a question about whether such a designation, especially at a time of heightened tension, could further complicate efforts to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear and weapons program.

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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