The designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related individuals, Trump told reporters, adding that the move would support "our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime that you've all been reading about and in some cases writing about".
The designation came a week after Trump returned from a 12-day, five-nation trip to Asia in which he made containing North Korea's nuclear ambitions a centerpiece of his discussions. "It must end its unlawful nuclear ballistic missile development and cease all support for worldwide terrorism, which it is not doing".
While North Korea is widely regarded as one of the most oppressive governments in the world with respect to its own people, its involvement with global terrorism is less prominent.
The designation had been debated for months inside the administration, with some officials at the State Department arguing that North Korea did not meet the legal standard to be relisted as a state sponsor of terrorism.
White House officials telegraphed the move before Trump's departure.
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Returning North Korea to the terror list would mean it is subject to greater restrictions on US foreign assistance, defense exports and sales, and other financial transactions. "Pyongyang's use of nerve agent to kill Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is the most visible example of North Korea's attacks on dissent overseas", according to Anthony Ruggiero, a former deputy director of the Treasury Department and an expert in the use of targeted financial measures for Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
In any case, it will do little to open the way for USA dialogue with North Korea, which China and others have been pushing for.
Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors.
Under sanctions legislation signed by Trump in August, the State Department was required to report to Congress earlier this month whether it will re-designate North Korea. Cuba had been on the list but was removed by President Barack Obama in 2015.
"The North Korean regime must be lawful". Israel's biggest fear, he said, is the possibility that North Korea might develop nuclear weapons on behalf of Iran.