President Donald Trump has named North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism.
Trump made the declaration on Monday as he promised a rapid ramp-up of U.S. Treasury sanctions against the secluded state.
North Korea has been put back on the terror blacklist in which it was removed from in 2008 by President George Bush. It now joins Iran, Syria, and Sudan.
“Today the United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago,” Trump said as he cited the death of a U.S student who had been held in a North Korean jail and the assassination of Kim’s elder half-brother on foreign soil as reasons for the move.
A different tone, however, came from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said the U.S. has not given up hope on the two countries having a sit-down.
Tillerson said that punitive measures were already having a “significant effect” on Pyongyang’s economy.
“We know that there are current shortages of fuel based upon what we can gather anecdotally and also from certain intelligence sources,” he said.
“We know that their revenues are down. So I think it is having an effect. Is this the reason we haven’t had a provocative act in 60 days?”
North Korea is yet to respond to the latest sanctions although a state-run publication, Rodong Sinmun, has hit back at Donald Trump describing him as a “mentally deranged money-grabber” who was leading the United States down an “irretrievable road to hell.”
“The hideous crimes committed by the lunatic president of the US are a blatant challenge to the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK,” the article in Rodong Sinmun said.
“Those who trample down and make a mockery of the DPRK’s dignity can never go scot-free,” it added.
North Korea is already under huge sactions by the United States and the United Nations.
This current one will not have an immediate effect on the country but according to Trump, it would kick off a two-week period of announcements that would eventually amount to a “maximum pressure campaign.”