North Korea is about to be officially designated a state sponsor of terrorism, Donald Trump announced today (Nov. 20).
The designation will be given tomorrow by the US Treasury, and new sanctions will be imposed on the dictatorship. According to the White House press pool’s report, Trump assured that the sanctions will be “the highest level” yet imposed on North Korea. These are expected to be implemented over the next two weeks.
“It should have happened years ago,” Trump said, according to the pool. In fact, it did: From 1988 to 2008, North Korea was on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, which includes Iran (since 1984) , Sudan (since 1993), and Syria (since 1979). It was removed under George W. Bush’s presidency as part of a diplomatic deal for North Korea to allow inspection of its Yongbyon nuclear facility, as well as dismantle a plutonium plant—neither of which were done.
Putting North Korea back on the US list of state sponsors of terror ups the ante in Trump and Kim Jong-un’s public battle, which has sometimes veered toward the personal. The North Korean dictator reportedly dismissed Trump as “old,” to which the US president responded with “short and fat.”
Trump added today that Pyongyang’s is a “murderous regime,” and demanded that it “end its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile development.” While putting more pressure on North Korea to back down, the administration’s measure might just be one step further towards military intervention.