National Security

Why Was North Korea Removed From State Terror Sponsor List In The First Place?

KCNA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Jon Street Contributor
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President Donald Trump reversed a decade-long U.S. policy on North Korea Monday by designating the Kim Jong Un regime a state sponsor of terror.

In a statement announcing the move, the president referred to North Korea as a “murderous regime” and vowed to impose on the country the “highest level of sanctions,” as The Daily Caller reported.

The announcement to re-designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism begs one important question, though: Why did the U.S. remove North Korea from the list of state terrorism sponsors in the first place?

According to a New York Times report from October 2008, President George W. Bush’s administration announced that it was removing North Korea from the state terrorism sponsor list “after North Korea agreed to resume disabling a plutonium plant and to allow some inspections to verify that it had halted its nuclear program as promised months earlier.”

The agreement all but fell apart, though, when that same year North Korea refused entry to international inspectors who were seeking to confirm the nation was living up to its part of the deal regarding its development of nuclear weapons. The Bush administration removed North Korea as a state terrorism sponsor just one month before Barack Obama was elected president.

After taking office, President Obama implemented a policy of “strategic patience” in which it engaged in diplomatic talks with the Kim Jong Il regime. After Kim Jong Il died in 2011, those talks carried over to Kim Jong Un’s regime. But Un, then in his late 20s, seemed disinterested in striking a fair diplomatic agreement with the U.S. while the rogue nation further developed its nuclear capabilities.