Speaking to reporters before a cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump said “as we take this action today, our thoughts turn to Otto Warmbier, a wonderful young man, and the countless others so brutally affected by the North Korean oppression.”
“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,” Trump said.
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“The North Korean regime must be lawful,” Trump said. “It must end its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile development, and cease all support for international terrorism — which it is not doing.”
In a letter last month to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Portman, Brown and 12 other senators wrote that since former President George W. Bush in 2008 dropped North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the Pyongyang regime has continued to develop its nuclear weapons program along with the missiles to deliver a nuclear warhead.