Trump designates North Korea a 'sponsor of terror'
The US has designated North Korea a state-sponsor of terrorism once again, nine years after it was removed from the list. President Donald Trump made the announcement in a recent cabinet meeting. He justified the designation on Pyongyang's nuclear program and its support for "international acts of terrorism." Iran, Sudan and Syria had previously found their place in the list of state-sponsors of terror.
US list of state sponsors of terror and North Korea
North Korea was excluded from the list in 2008 by the Bush-administration. Pressure has been mounting on the Trump administration to re-include the North in the list following the allegedly state-orchestrated murder of Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong-nam using a banned chemical agent in February 2017. It further intensified after US college-student Otto Warmbier's death, following his release from North Korean custody in August'17.
Growing nuclear threats from North Korea
In July, North Korea tested an Inter-continental ballistic-missile (ICBM) which purportedly brought the entire US within its strike range. In August, it threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the US-Pacific territory of Guam in response to Trump threatening it with "fire and fury." In September, Pyongyang tested a Hydrogen-bomb in its sixth and most powerful test and fired a second missile over Japan.
What are the implications?
The re-designation of North Korea as a state-sponsor of terror may hinder the resolution of the crisis through negotiations. US Secretary of State states that "the practical effects of the designation may be limited." Besides, this is ample provocation for the North which might respond with another missile test. However, there is a slight possibility that, this might increase pressure on Pyongyang to de-nuclearize.