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Trump labels North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, unleashing new sanctions

(National SentinelWar Drums: President Donald J. Trump announced on Monday he is designating North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism in an effort to apply maximum diplomatic pressure and sanctions on the Stalinist regime.

“We will be instituting a very critical step and that will start right now,” Trump told the media at the start of a Cabinet meeting. He did not take any questions during the meeting.

“Today, the United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Trump said, adding, “It should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago.”

Addressing reporters, Trump discussed what happened to Otto Warmbier, an American student who was imprisoned by Pyongyang and now allowed to return to the United States until he was nearly dead.

“As we take this action today, our thoughts to turn to Otto Warmbier, a wonderful young man, and the countless others so brutally affected by the North Korean oppression,” Trump said.

Warmbier, who as a tourist in January 2016, was arrested and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labor after being convicted for attempted theft of a propaganda poster from his hotel.

North Korea had already been on the State Department’s list of state-sponsored terrorist regimes but was removed by former President George W. Bush in 2008 in an attempt to get Pyongyang to end its nuclear development program.

During his interaction with reporters, Trump also discussed his recent trip to Asia and how it pertained to corralling North Korea, which is working to develop nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

“One of the primary goals of our trip was to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump said.

“In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism including assassinations on foreign soil.”

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Administration officials pointed to the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half brother in Malaysia in February, describing it as an act of terrorism.

The president said the sanctions would amount to “the highest level” possible. They will be announced by the Treasury Department on Tuesday.

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