Terror designation a way to hike North Korea pressure

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Trump warned that, in addition to the terror designation, Washington is preparing yet another round of sanctions to force Pyongyang to give up its nuclear missile program.

President Donald Trump says he intends to declare North Korea a state sponsor of terror.

The United States has designated only three other countries - Iran, Sudan and Syria - as state sponsors of terrorism.

North Korea is pursuing nuclear weapons and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions and has made no secret of its plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the USA mainland. The talks collapsed soon after and have not been revived since.

United Nations spokesperson Farhan Haq said the UN has "nothing to say" about the U.S. designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Otto Warmbier arriving at a court for his trial in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 16, 2015.

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

Tomohiro Ohsumi  Getty Images News  Getty Images
Tomohiro Ohsumi Getty Images News Getty Images

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.

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

Malaysian authorities have said he was killed by two women who smeared suspected VX nerve agent onto his face at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Trump made the announcement one week after returning from a trip to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Countries placed on this list are determined by the secretary of state to have "repeatedly provided support for acts of worldwide terrorism" and can face economic consequences as a result.

The North Korean commentary accused Mr Trump of committing a "hideous crime against the Korean people" by insulting its leader, and warning that this "thrice-cursed crime can never be pardoned".

Trump said Monday that the designation will impose further penalties on the country. Should have happened years ago.

North Korea is already under a wide array of United States and United Nations sanctions, and the terror designation will not have much immediate economic impact in itself. As the North has faced isolation from Western countries, it has increasingly sought relationships in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia in search of badly needed finances.

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