Three other nations – Iran, Sudan and Syria – are on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea was previously removed from the list in 2008 amid nuclear negotiations spearheaded by former President George W. Bush. In his announcement, Mr. Trump invoked the death of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was imprisoned by North Korea and died earlier this year after returning to the U.S. in a coma. He said more sanctions would be imposed on North Korea and “related persons” that the Treasury Department would begin to announce Tuesday.
There is strong bipartisan support for the move in Congress, which had passed legislation in August requiring the State Department to make a determination on putting North Korea back on the list. The primary impact of the designation may be to compound North Korea’s growing international isolation as it is already subject to an array of tough U.S. sanctions restricting trade, foreign assistance, defense sales and exports of sensitive technology.