Korea criticizes US over designation as terror sponsor

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The latest sanctions, the sixth of their kind since President Donald Trump took office early this year, marked the first time that the USA government blacklisted North Korean vessels.

Trump warned that the terror designation and sanctions announcement would be part of a series of moves over the next two weeks to reinforce his "maximum pressure campaign" against Kim Jong-Un's regime. Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News. On Tuesday the U.S. unveiled its fresh sanctions which also targeted North Korean shipping, raising the pressure on the North to abandon its nuclear programme. But the unilateral measures, analysts said, only prevent US companies and banks from doing business with those sanctioned, which was already happening in practice.

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.

"The nuclear weapons of the DPRK are the deterrence to safeguard our sovereignty", the report said.

"We'll have to see what other states do, if they take similar measures or if they reassess their relationship or if they suspend any kinds of economic relations, which we've seen some states doing anyway", he said, pointing to Singapore and the Philippines as examples.

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Pyongyang also said on Wednesday that putting North Korea back on the terrorism blacklist will only strengthen its resolve to further develop the communist country's nuclear weapons programme.

The timing of the added pressure on North Korea could work against bringing it to negotiate an end to its nuclear and missile programs. In recent months, the North conducted its most powerful nuclear test yet and tested a pair of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially reach the USA mainland if perfected.

Trump in restoring North Korea to the terror list criticized his predecessor, Barack Obama, for not having taken such a bold move during his eight years on office.

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". One of his favorite comments is the US should have re-designated North Korea as a sponsor of terror "a long time ago" - that was a dig against Obama's policy of "strategic patience" in dealing with the North.

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