WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that his government is considering putting North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, from which the Pyongyang regime was removed in 2008.
“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,” Tillerson said following expressing the need to put more pressure on Iran’s nuclear program.
Despite his intention for dialog with the Kim Jong-un regime, Tillerson said at a press conference that the Trump administration wants to do it “on a different footing than past talks have been held.”
During President George W. Bush’s administration in 2008, the US removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which includes Iran, Syria and Sudan.
The end of North Korea’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism was the result of six-party talks among Russia, the US, Japan, China and the two Koreas to end Pyongyang’s military nuclear programs.
North Korea back then committed to dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear power plant, but in 2009 launched a space rocket with technology that could be used for a long-range missile, prompting condemnation from the United Nations Security Council as well as the return to diplomatic isolation.
With Donald Trump in power since January, North Korea has returned to its tactic of missile provocations, while Washington has urged for China’s help to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table, although it has not ruled out the possibility of military action.