Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails The Memo: Like the dress or not, Ocasio-Cortez is driving the conversation again Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE (R-Texas) in a new op-ed urges the State Department to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.
In the piece published Sunday in The New York Times, Cruz said the State Department faces a "critical decision."
"The Iran-Russia-North Korea sanctions bill enacted in August included legislation I introduced that requires the secretary of state to decide whether to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism within 90 days," Cruz wrote.
Cruz then pointed to the treatment of Otto Warmbier, "collusion with Iran to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles" and North Korea's "support for Syria's chemical weapons program."
"Given this, the decision should be easy," he wrote.
"In fact, Americans could be forgiven for wondering why North Korea is not already designated as a sponsor of terrorism," Cruz added.
North Korea was included on the list from 1988 until 2008, when the George W. Bush administration removed it as part of an agreement with Pyongyang to curb the rogue nation's nuclear weapons development.
Cruz wrote in the op-ed it is time to acknowledge that North Korea may "never be interested in negotiating away its nuclear deterrent."
The U.S. should continue to leave the door open for talks on the issue, Cruz added.
"But the United States government does our citizens — and the world — a disservice if it continually discounts the centrality of nuclear weapons to the Kim regime," he said.
The Texas Republican called for the Trump administration to join with Congress in "acknowledging the truth about North Korea and using it to open new opportunities to maximize pressure."
"We must tell the truth about the dangerous ambitions of North Korea and once again list it as a state sponsor of terrorism, a move that only strengthens our hand and weakens that of Kim Jong-un," Cruz wrote.
"I strongly urge the State Department to relist North Korea, and to meet this challenge with the resolve it has long demanded," he continued.
Earlier this month, a dozen senators — six Republicans and six Democrats — sent a letter to the State Department asking that North Korea be added to its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
For a country to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, the secretary of State must determine the country's government has repeatedly provided support for international terrorism.
President Trump in recent months has ramped up his rhetoric on North Korea. Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that the U.S. has been "unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing."
"Policy didn't work!" Trump added.