WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday officially designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, a provocative diplomatic move that he said was aimed at drastically increasing pressure on the rogue nation to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
North Korea will join Sudan, Syria and Iran as countries that the State Department identifies as those that have “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.”
“Should have happened a long time ago,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the start of a cabinet meeting at the White House. The president said the designation would be followed on Tuesday by the “highest level of sanctions” against Pyongyang to force the end of the development of its nuclear and ballistic missiles.
Mr. Trump has vowed to seek “complete denuclearization” in North Korea and has threatened “fire and fury” aimed at the country if it endangers the United States. This year, the president ordered an end to the policy of “strategic patience” that was pursued by President Barack Obama, in the hopes that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, would eventually agree to negotiate.