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Trump declares North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism

Trump declares North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism

President Donald Trump designated North Korea a state sponsor of terror on Monday, following through on his administration's promises throughout this trip to Asia to make a decision soon. Cuba had been on the list but was removed by President Barack Obama in 2015. According to the White House press pool's report, Trump assured that the sanctions will be "the highest level" yet imposed on North Korea.

USA officials involved in the internal deliberations said there was no debate over whether the slaying of Kim's half brother Kim Jong Nam was a terrorist act.

In February, Kim's potential rival and elder brother Kim Jong-Nam died after he was sprayed with a nerve agent in Kuala Lumpur airport, in an assassination blamed on Pyongyang.

Earlier this month, another North Korean media outlet said Mr Trump was "sentenced to death" for his attacks on Mr Kim.

But US officials see the designation - lifted by then-president George W. Bush in 2008 - as a way of ratcheting up the pressure on Pyongyang and especially on other states that may be failing to fully enforce the sanctions already in place.

GETTYThe regime has fired missiles over Japan and dramatically accelerated its nuclear weapons programme
GETTYThe regime has fired missiles over Japan and dramatically accelerated its nuclear weapons programme

Trump accused North Korea of "repeatedly" supporting global terrorism, "including assassinations on foreign soil". Trump has constantly tweeted about North Korea's threat to the US because the nation continues to pursue nuclear weapons and test ballistic missiles.

In any case, it will do little to open the way for US dialogue with North Korea, which China, Pyongyang's No. 1 ally, and others have been pushing for.

Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors.

Some analysts have said Pyongyang could use the designation as a pretext for renewed weapons tests after a two-month hiatus.

People walk past a public TV screen broadcasting news of North Korea's launch of missile, in Tokyo, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. It requested a determination as to whether such acts constitute support for worldwide terrorism. Hackers threatened movie theatres that screened "The Interview", a comedy parodying the North's leader, Kim.