North Korea calls U.S. terror listing a 'serious provocation'

President Donald Trump Inauguration Ceremony

On Monday, President Donald Trump announced that North Korea was put back on Washington's list of state sponsors of terrorism for the first time in nine years.

The order from the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioning a 13 Chinese and North Korean companies and agencies and 20 vessels owned by North Korea added substance to the words of Trump as he denounced North Korea for spreading terror at home and overseas.

"The nuclear weapons of the DPRK are the deterrence to safeguard our sovereignty", it said, using the initials of the North's official name. Air China last cancelled flights to North Korea in April, citing low customer demand, but resumed them soon after. The response came shortly after China, the North's sole ally, also rejected as "wrong" new U.S. sanctions that targeted Chinese companies doing business with the pariah state. Washington removed Pyongyang from the list in 2008 to reward it for progress on dismantling its nuclear programs under a six-party deal, which it later violated.

European researchers who gathered information from announcements made on North Korean state media have come up with a list of 15 places, mostly in the U.S. and Japan, which they say are on North Korea's list of targets.

Trump's September executive order targeted North Korea's textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing industries, and was created to "cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea's efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind". "The U.N. [Security Council] Sanction 2375 has been operating, so I think it will enhance pressure on Kim Jong Un's regime and global society's distrust on North Korea".

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That the new list included a Chinese individual - the CEO of a company in a city near North Korea - and four Chinese companies show that the action also seeks to press China, the North's sole remaining ally and the largest benefactor, as well.

He further disclosed that the designation is long overdue step and part of the U.S. China, moreover, still pours oil into North Korea, fueling an economy that otherwise survives on far less efficient coal.

"That's based on the assumption that the likelihood or the probability of returning to dialogue was high or the two sides were going to meet or there was going to be some diplomatic process that was going to be initiated", Pinkston said, "and that possibly North Korea would bargain in good faith to fulfill its previous non-proliferation commitments and work towards denuclearization, but I think that's unlikely", he said.

Christopher Hill is the former US diplomat who was instrumental in persuading first the secretary of state at the time, Condoleezza Rice, and then President Bush, to pull North Korea's name from the "terror list".

Announcing the designation, Trump told reporters at the White House: "In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of global terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil".

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