During a fiery speech in South Korea, Trump described North Korea as an out-of-control country led by Kim Jong Un, whom he cast as a maniacal and deranged man. "It must end its unlawful nuclear ballistic missile development and cease all support for global terrorism, which it is not doing". It should have happened a long time ago.
It has since conducted five more nuclear tests and steadily ramped up its ballistic missile program, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Should have happened years ago, ' Trump said.
"This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons, and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime that you've all been reading about and, in some cases, writing about", the president said.
Thae Yong-ho, a former high-ranking North Korean official who defected to South Korea, endorsed adding North Korea back to the state sponsor of terrorism list during testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year.
US financial institutions are already banned from engaging in business with people or entities associated with the North Korean government. Israel's biggest fear, he said, is the possibility that North Korea might develop nuclear weapons on behalf of Iran.
The officials were not authorized to speak publicly about the deliberations and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Trump made the announcement during a Cabinet meeting.
North Korea's Nuclear Missile Program Explained- Part 2 Military Options
The designation against North Korea will trigger additional sanctions.
USA officials involved in the internal deliberations said there was no debate over whether the slaying of half-brother Kim Jong Nam was a terrorist act.
The assassination also derailed "the first meaningful opportunity" for direct contacts between the two governments, a senior State Department official recently told Reuters.
The North Korean commentary accused Mr Trump of committing a "hideous crime against the Korean people" by insulting its leader, and warning that this "thrice-cursed crime can never be pardoned".
George W. Bush originally designated North Korea as a terrorism sponsor, but removed Pyongyang in 2008 in an effort to broker a nuclear deal.
Trump said that North Korea has "repeatedly" sponsored acts of terrorism, including "assassinations on foreign soil".