Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terror

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PV International Desk : President Donald Trump declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism on Monday even as his top diplomat said Washington has not given up hope of a negotiated end to its nuclear standoff with Kim Jong-Un’s regime.

Trump promised a rapid ramp-up of US Treasury sanctions against the isolated pariah state, after adding its name to a terror blacklist previously led by Iran and Syria.

“Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago,” Trump declared, citing the death of a US student who had been held in a North Korean jail and the assassination by nerve agent of Kim’s elder brother on foreign soil as reasons for the move.

But, speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington has not given up hope that sanctions and diplomacy can pressure Kim into agreeing to sit down and discuss his nuclear disarmament.

Tillerson said that punitive measures were already having a “significant effect” on Pyongyang’s economy — even if China has yet to cut off oil supplies to its sole refinery — and said: “We still hope for diplomacy.”