Tillerson: US may restore North Korea to list of state sponsors of terror

Tillerson: US may restore North Korea to list of state sponsors of terror
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is mulling whether it should restore North Korea to the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“We’re reviewing all the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pressure on the regime in Pyongyang to re-engage with us, but re-engage with us on a different footing than past talks have been held,” he said at a Wednesday press conference, according to Reuters. “We are evaluating all of those options.”

Tillerson’s remarks come amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile testing.

In addition to the weapons tests, leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was assassinated with a deadly chemical weapon in Malaysia by operatives suspected to be under orders from the North Korean government. South Korean intelligence concluded that Kim Jong Un ordered the February killing, though North Korea has denied any involvement. 

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The House approved legislation earlier this month that would order the State Department to determine whether North Korea is a state sponsor of terrorism.

Lawmakers also adopted a resolution condemning North Korea’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles in violation of United Nations Security Council measures.

North Korea was removed from State’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2008 as part of a deal with former President George W. Bush’s administration to scale back its nuclear weapons program.

The designation results in additional financial sanctions, restrictions on foreign aid, and bans on defense exports and sales.

State currently recognizes Iran, Sudan and Syria as state sponsors of terror.