President Trump said the U.S. is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism on Monday.
The designation "should have happened a long time ago," the president said at the start of a Cabinet meeting. He also cited the death of 22-year-old student Otto Warmbier of Cincinnati, acts of terrorism, and also the regime's nuclear weapons program.
The designation will impose penalties and sanctions on the regime of Kim Jong Un. Trump said additional sanctions would be announced by that the Treasury Department on North Korea on Tuesday.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the sanctions would be like sanctions that were previous, but wider. He explained the sanctions on the plan are affecting fuel supply and the country's revenues.
"This is a process that began really several months past," Tillerson said during a media briefing Monday at the White House.
The move returns North Korea to the list of nations the U.S. viewpoints as state sponsors of terror for the first time since 2008. That is if the North was removed in a bid to salvage a deal to halt its development.
U.S. officials cited the killing of Kim's estranged half-brother Kim Jong Nam at a Malaysian airport this year as an act of terrorism.
"The assassination in Malaysia was a substantial event," Tillerson said to reporters on Monday.
Warmbier was killed after being returned to the US from North Korea in a comatose state. He was sentenced to attempting to steal a banner while visiting North 24, after confessing.
North Korea joins Iran, Sudan, and Syria about the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror.