The President has made an announcement that officially puts the North Korean regime in the same category as nations like Iran, Sudan, and Syria.
According to Politico, President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the US would designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, adding that it was something that needed to happen a long time ago.
The rogue nation led by dictator Kim Jong-un joins three other nations – Iran, Sudan and Syria – on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. Although the nation was previously added to the list in 1988, it was subsequently taken off the list in 2008 during the nuclear negotiations led by former President George W. Bush.
“We will be instituting a very critical step and that will start right now,” Mr. Trump said in remarks at the top of a Cabinet meeting at the White House. “Today, the United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago.”
The Trump administration has been considering the idea for weeks as the President was expected to make a decision during the Asia trip that concluded last week. In the announcement, Mr. Trump brought up the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was imprisoned by North Korea and died earlier this year after returning to the United States in a coma. His case, as well as “the countless others so brutally affected by the North Korean oppression,” were an influencing part in the decision.
Although some fear this announcement could exacerbate tensions in the region even further, others speculate whether or not North Korea legally justifies being labeled as such, as designating a nation as a sponsor of terrorism is a legally complex issue.
“In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil,” said President Trump.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the designation is largely symbolic at this point, considering the heavy sanctions already in place against the rogue nation. He did add that the official designation allowed some bureaucratic “loopholes” in dealing with the country to be closed.
“It’s taking effect all around the world, and we think as it takes effect, again, this just continues to tighten the pressure on the Kim regime all with an intention to have him understand this is only going to get worse until you’re ready to come and talk,” he said.
The State Secretary added that a key factor in the decision to designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terror was the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of North Korea’s current leader, who was assassinated in a Malaysian airport.
President Trump expressed plans to designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, although it is not yet official. Should the US proceed with an official designation of North Korea as a sponsor of terror?
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Select committee on Intelligence, concurred with the designation. “There’s no doubt the Kim regime thrives off spreading mayhem around the globe, and today’s decision is another step in the Administration’s effort to bring the greatest pressure to bear on the Kim regime,” adding that it is “better to address this threat now than to let it grow any further.”
The future for Kim Jong-un’s regime looks all the more bleaker, his saber-rattling only hastening his eventual demise.