Trump is a heinous criminal who should be sternly punished, says Pyongyang media
In a more decisive action against Kim Jong Un administration, US President Donald Trump has, on Monday, placed North Korea back on the list of states sponsoring terrorism after a gap of almost nine years. President George Bush removed North Korea from the terror list in 2008.
The move was announced by the President during a public meeting with his Cabinet at the White House. He said that the Treasury Department will announce new sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday.
Trump said, “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 has alleged that North Korea has “repeatedly” sponsored acts of terrorism, including “assassinations on foreign soil.” He further said “This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea … and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime.”
Trump said new sanctions to be announced over the coming weeks, including Tuesday by the Treasury Department, will bring US sanctions against Pyongyang to their highest level ever.
A State Department official was quoted saying, “As part of the administration’s maximum pressure strategy, we have asked all countries around the world to put diplomatic and economic pressure on the DPRK, whose regime threatens international peace and security with its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile development, dangerous support for international terrorism and other malicious activities.”
The official cautioned that ‘Kim Jong Un must realize that the only path to a secure, economically prosperous future is to abandon his unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile development and support for international terrorism and rejoin the international community.”
The US move is welcomed by its allies in the region including Japan, South Korea and Australia. South Korea said its military is “maintaining a firm readiness posture” for any reaction from North Korea. Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said that so far Seoul had not observed any unusual activity across the border. However it was maintaining heightened alert in case any “provocations.”
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has welcomed the US move. He expressed hope that it “raises the pressure” on North Korea to denuclearize.
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also supported the move. He said that North Korea’s designation “mirrors the determination of the international community on bringing North Korea back to its senses.”
Meanwhile Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang has cautioned that the “current situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly complex and sensitive.” He further said that Beijing hopes “to see all the relevant parties do more to ease tensions, and return to the negotiating table.”
Meanwhile North Korean state media published a strong rebuke of Trump on Tuesday, but it wasn’t clear if it was in direct response to the terror designation.
Pyongyang based daily Rodong Sinmun said,”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. Those who trample down and make a mockery of the DPRK’s dignity can never go scot-free.”
The daily further said, “Trump is a heinous criminal who should be sternly punished at the DPRK’s court and at the court of justice and human conscience.”
It concludes by saying, “The confrontational maniacs challenging the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK and its socialist system centered on the popular masses should clearly know that they will have to pay a very high price for their unpardonable crimes.”
The ties between US and North Korea have recently deteriorated due to repeated Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) tests and most powerful nuclear test by Kim Jong Un. Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have exchanged rhetoric of destroying each other’s countries.
Recently Trump has travelled five nations in Asia, Including Japan, South Korea,China, Vietnam and Philippines where North Korea was considered to be on the top of his agenda.