U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday the United States will declare North Korea to be a state sponsor of terrorism, a move the president said came in response to the DPRK’s repeated support for “acts of international terrorism, including assassination on foreign soil.”
“This should have happened a long time ago,” the president said. “It should have happened years ago.”
The move enables the United States to snap off foreign aid, arms sales, commercial exports and financial transactions with Pyongyang.
The designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related individuals, Trump told reporters, adding that the move would support “our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime that you’ve all been reading about and in some cases writing about.”
North Korea was removed from the list (which includes Iran, Syria and Sudan) in 2008 in order to facilitate nuclear talks then taking place under the administration of President George W. Bush.
The move will tighten the pressure on North Korea, moving it up to the “highest level of sanctions” ever, Trump said.
“The North Korean regime must be lawful,” the president declared. “It must end its unlawful nuclear ballistic missile development and cease all support for international terrorism, which it is not doing.”
Earlier this month, Dr. Alon Levkowitz of the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies — an expert on the history and politics of the Korean Peninsula at Bar Ilan University — noted while speaking on a panel hosted by the Jerusalem-based Israel-Asia Center at TASE, that North Korea has long collaborated with Israel’s enemies.
Pyongyang sent soldiers to fight with Arab armies against Israel during the 1967 Six Day War, and again in 1974 during the Yom Kippur War as well. Israel’s biggest fear, he said, is the possibility that North Korea might develop nuclear weapons on behalf of Iran.
Levkowitz also said North Korea is selling missiles to Syria, and selling light ammunition to “just about every terrorist group in the region.”