Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) joined Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) in sending a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to designate North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, following the tragic death of Otto Warmbier. Thirteen other members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee joined in signing the letter.

Full text of the letter is available below or here:

The Honorable Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20521

Dear Secretary Tillerson:

We write to urge you to exercise your authority to relist North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. The world looks to the United States to lead in responding to the dangerous nuclear belligerence of Kim Jong-un. Duly relisting his regime as a State Sponsor of Terrorism is an important component of this leadership, as it will further the case for our diplomatic and economic isolation campaign, and underscore the importance of cutting ties with North Korea.

Since North Korea was removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list in 2008, the Kim regime has repeatedly perpetrated or supported heinous acts, the most recent example of which was the illegitimate detention, murderous mistreatment, and tragic death of Otto Warmbier. Before Otto’s murder, agents of North Korea assassinated Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia using VX nerve agent. As you know, the willful aiding or abetting of the use or acquisition of chemical weapons is an explicit component of international terrorism under the Arms Export Control Act, one of the authorities authorizing you to designate State Sponsors of Terrorism (22 U.S.C. 2780(d)).

Such acts are not isolated events, but part of a consistent pattern by the Kim regime. For years, North Korea has regularly kidnapped foreign citizens in violation of international law. Since 2008, North Korea has conducted cyber-attacks and cyber-blackmail against civilian targets, attempted assassinations across international borders, and sold arms to terrorist groups.  The 115th Congress has repeatedly demonstrated its broad consensus that North Korea should be relisted as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, first by the House’s overwhelming passage of H.R. 479, the North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act, and again by the bicameral passage of H.R.3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

H.R. 3364, which became law on August 2nd of this year, includes the substance of H.R. 479, which requires you to submit a determination whether North Korea meets the criteria for designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism within 90 days.  We look forward to receiving your timely determination and trust that you will give due consideration to the matters discussed herein.


Brad R. Wenstrup
Member of Congress

Edward R. Royce
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs

Eliot L. Engel
Ranking Member, Committee on Foreign Affairs

Ted Yoho
Chairman, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific

Brad Sherman
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Chairman Emeritus, Committee on Foreign Affairs

William Keating
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade

Louis Frankel
Member of Congress

Dana Rohrabacher
Member of Congress

Ami Bera
Member of Congress

Lee Zeldin
Member of Congress

Steve Chabot
Member of Congress

Brian Fitzpatrick
Member of Congress

Francis Rooney
Member of Congress

Tom Garrett
Member of Congress

Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress