TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday (Nov 21) welcomed US President Donald Trump's move to put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism, saying it would ramp up pressure on Pyongyang, Kyodo News reported.
The designation, announced on Monday, allows the United States to impose more sanctions on Pyongyang, which is pursuing nuclear weapons and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions.
"I welcome and support (the designation) as it raises the pressure on North Korea," Mr Abe told reporters, according to Kyodo.
President Trump, who has traded personal insults with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but has not ruled out talks, said the Treasury Department will announce additional sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday.
The designation came a week after Mr 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.
"In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil," Mr Trump told reporters at the White House.
"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."
Mr Trump, who has often criticised his predecessors' policies toward Pyongyang, said the designation should have been made "a long time ago."
North Korea has made no secret of its plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland. It has fired two missiles over Japan and on Sept 3 fired its sixth and largest nuclear test.
South Korea's spy agency said on Monday the North may conduct additional missile tests this year to improve its long-range missile technology and ramp up the threat against the United States.