President Trump designated North Korea a “State sponsor of terror”, only days after a dramatic video emerged of a North Korean soldier, who was rescued by South Korean soldiers, after being shot several times by his comrades, while he was attempting to defect from the brutal North Korean regime. There can be no doubt that the viral video was a slap in the face to the brutal North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, who does not take defecting from the hell-hole of North Korea lightly.
Speaking during a Cabinet meeting, Trump said the designation will impose even greater sanctions on North Korea amid rising nuclear threat tensions with the Asian nation. He said the label is long overdue and is part of the U.S. “maximum pressure campaign” against North Korea.
“In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism including assassinations on foreign soil,” Trump said.
U.S. officials cited the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother in a Malaysian airport in February as an act of terrorism.
North Korea was removed from the list – which includes three other countries – in 2008 in an effort to salvage a deal to halt its nuclear development. However, since then, North Korea has made significant strides in its nuclear program.
Only days after President Trump’s announcement, reports have been confirmed that at approximately 1:30 am, North Korea launched a ballistic missile.
CNBC – North Korea fired a missile that was believed to have crashed into the waters off Japan, the Japanese prime minister’s office said early Wednesday local time (Tuesday afternoon ET).
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered an emergency meeting of Cabinet ministers after North Korea’s first ballistic missile launch since Sept. 15, when one flew over northern Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.
“A missile was launched from North Korea which appears to have landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone,” Abe’s office tweeted. “As soon as new information comes in, we will let you know.”
The exclusive economic zone is a legal designation established by the United Nations Law of the Sea.
The South Korean military conducted a “precision missile-firing drill” as a response to the launch, a South Korean military official told NBC.
A Pentagon spokesman said that it had “detected a probable missile launch” around 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.
“We are in the process of assessing the situation and will provide additional details when available,” the spokesman said.
The missile was reportedly fired from South Pyongan Province early Wednesday local time. South Korea and the United States are analyzing the details of the launch, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Earlier on Tuesday Reuters reported that U.S. government experts believed the regime was likely to launch a missile “within days.”
The launch comes on the heels of Trump’s Nov. 20 announcement that the U.S. is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.
An official told Fox News the U.S. military was still analyzing the data to determine what type of ballistic missile was launched. North Korea has been working hard to perfect “re-entry” technology to one day have a warhead be able to survive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
Reuters reporter Timothy Appel tweeted a report, showing how commercial vehicles near Japan were warned of a missile that may fall into the sea near them:
This is the first missile launch since North Korea fired an intermediate-range KN-17 on Sept. 15 that flew over Japan’s Hokkaido Island before splashing into the Pacific Ocean. There have been signs indicating Kim Jong Un’s regime was planning a missile launch in recent days. Japan’s Kyodo News reported Monday the Japanese government detected radio signals pointing to a possible missile test in the near future. However, satellite images did not show a missile or movable launch pad.
North Korea’s Sept. 15 missile launch flew 2,300 miles out, putting the U.S. island territory of Guam within its range. Kim previously threatened to strike the island with four medium-range ballistic missiles in August, but ultimately stepped away from the plan.
North Korea’s lull in missile launches made October the only month a test wasn’t conducted since the start of the year. Between February and September, the regime tested a missile an average of every two weeks. This is also the first provocation since Trump designated North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism.