Terror designation a way to hike North Korea pressure

Kim Jong-un 'punishes top military officials for

Should have happened years ago.

There is strong bipartisan support for the move in Congress, which had passed legislation in August requiring the State Department to make a determination on putting North Korea back on the list.

Monday's announcement comes a little less than a week after Trump returned from a 12-day trip to Asia, where North Korea was at the top of his agenda.

The designation against North Korea will trigger additional sanctions.

The State Department said last week that Sudan, which is on the terror list itself, had agreed to cut all military and trade ties to North Korea. "North Korea will see it as another sign that the Trump administration will be less likely to come to the table with the interest in making a deal".

Kim Jong-un 'punishes top military officials for
Terror designation a way to hike North Korea pressure

Other analysts said Pyongyang could use the designation as a pretext for renewed weapons tests after a two-month hiatus. "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 that you've all been reading about and, in some cases, writing about", the president said.

The designation places restrictions on trade with North Korea that are essentially already in place. White House officials telegraphed the move before Trump's departure.

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.

Leaning into the likelihood that Trump would decide to reinstate North Korea's spot on the list, a senior administration official told reporters that taking North Korea off the list "was one of the things that a previous administration lifted.as part of a hopeful attempt to lure them into reversing the threat". The North has not been publicly implicated in a terror attack of that scale since. "The regime also continues its push to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles, threatening global security", Royce added. Now there are three countries designated under these authorities: Iran, Sudan, and Syria.

Neither Mr Trump nor the State Department specified which acts of terrorism and assassination the North had supported. That bid fell through, and North Korea has continued to drive toward building a nuclear bomb capable of hitting its neighbors and the United States.

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