US designates North Korea state sponsor of terrorism

Nov 22, 2017, 09:00 am

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Kim Jong-un, the chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, inspected Sungri Motor Plant in Tokchon, North Korea, reported Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday while Trump administration placed North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Heo Go-woon

The United States has redesignated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism after nine years. As North Korea has not been conducting a nuclear missile test for 68 days (as of Nov. 22), there was an expectation that a peaceful atmosphere would continue until the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018. However, Trump's re-listing of North Korea as a sponsor of terrorism could make North Korea as well as China uncomfortable, further complicating the situation of the Korea Peninsula.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday that North Korea once again will be designated a state sponsor of terror. A state sponsor of terror, applied by the U.S. Department of State, is a country with a government found to have "repeatedly provided support for act of international terrorism".
Seoul and Tokyo welcomed Trump's move. The South Korean government said, "It's a part of a joint effort by the international community to bring North Korea down to denuclearization through strong sanctions and pressure." Japan said, "It will send a strong message to the North Korean regime that it won't do."

Such a designation allows the United States to put a ban on defense exports and sales. However, many believe that it is difficult to make practical effects since there are already unprecedented sanctions in the pipeline against North Korea. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the designation a very symbolic move with limited practical effects. But he also held out hope for diplomacy.

North Korea's strong opposition to the decision is obvious, and some say that this could lead to intense provocations. Besides, it's hard for China to welcome the designation since stopping third parties to conduct certain acts with North Korea as a result of the designation is in fact putting sanctions against Chinese companies.

"While Song Tao's visit to Pyongyang as Xi Jinping's special envoy failed to make a fruitful progress consequently, the designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism has raised the possibility of North Korean provocations," said Jeon Hyeon-joon, a visiting professor at Woosuk University. "The PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018 could become a touchstone for peace, but it's doubtful whether the North will attend the event in this situation," he said.

"North Korea's threat is not something that started just yesterday. The murder case of Kim Jong-nam is under trial, and the U.S. and North Korea laws conflict over the case of Otto Warmbier," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies. "North Korea could view such designation was made based on the U.S.' imperialistic mind and it could speed up intense provocations believing that it was right to make efforts to become a nuclear state."

#North Korea #state sponsor of terrorism #U.S. #Donald Trump 
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