President Donald Trump has declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism. It's a decision that will lead to intensified sanctions, further strengthening the US standpoint against the nation.
According to Trump, it's the next step in a "maximum pressure" campaign, and "should have happened years ago". The administration plans to "isolate the murderous regime", and new sanctions will be announced by the US Treasury Department this Tuesday.
The President recently returned from a 12-day, five country tour of Asia. During the trip, he made a point of discussing North Korea's nuclear ambitions with Asian leaders.
The announcement comes as no surprise following his already tense relationship with leader Kim Jong-Un.
North Korea continues to pursue nuclear weapons and missile programs in spite of US Security Council sanctions. And South Korea has warned that North Korea may conduct additional missile testing this year.
North Korea has already fired two missiles over Japan this year.
Pleased @POTUS has announced the U.S. will designate #NorthKorea as a state sponsor of terrorism, a move I support as I cosponsored S. 672. This marks a positive step toward stopping this evil, rogue regime.
— Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) November 20, 2017
While a number of Republicans have tweeted their supported, some US officials, speaking privately, have suggested that North Korea does not meet all the criteria for the designation. According to the US State Department, it is reserved for "countries have been determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism".
This decision will see North Korea join Iran, Sudan and Syria on a list of countries considered state sponsors of terrorism.