WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President Donald Trump and his administration are considering putting North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, according to National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
"That is an option that’s under consideration and so the president’s cabinet is looking at this as part of the overall strategy on North Korea," McMaster has stated. "This is something that under consideration and you’ll hear more about that soon I think."
Commenting US President Donald Trump's upcoming trip to Asia-Pacific, McMaster has revealed three major goals, which Washington is aiming to achieve.
"First, strengthening international resolve to denuclearize North Korea. Second, promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Third, advance American prosperity through fair and reciprocal trade and economic practices."
B-52 Deployment Ahead of Trump's Asia Tour
McMaster's statement comes as Trump is set to arrive in South Korea on November 8 during his 12-day trip to the region — the longest visit to Asia by a US president in the last 25 years.
According to a senior US administration official, Trump will not make a stop at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea.
Ahead of Trump's Asia-Pacific tour, the Pentagon has deployed a B-2 stealth bomber fitted out for carrying nuclear weapons to unidentified areas of the western Pacific, prompting Pyongyang's strong condemnation. The last documented time a B-2 visited the area was during a 2013 Pentagon promotional show-of-force tour over the Korean Peninsula, according to the Japan Times.
Commenting on the deployment, Vice President Mike Pence has told the United States Air Force (USAF) duty personnel to "be ready."
Escalation on Korean Peninsula
A similar comment has been made by Pentagon chief James Mattis who said at a meeting with the US Army that it should stand ready for a military option, however, emphasizing that Washington would prefer to stick to diplomatic means to solve the crisis on the Korean peninsula, which has further aggravated after a number of ballistic missile launches and a nuclear test conducted by Pyongyang, which have prompted international condemnation.
The statement was echoed by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said that the US would rely on negotiations "until the first bomb drops," when asked to comment on previous statement by Trump hinting at a military option being considered by the US president.
Since then, China and Russia have been calling on the parties involved to consider the so-called "double freeze" plan the countries have proposed in order to settle the crisis. According to the plan so far rejected by Washington, North Korea should immediately halt conducting nuclear tests, while simultaneously the US and South Korea should refrain from conducting joint drills.