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North Korea Calls US' Blacklisting Move 'Serious Provocation'
March 23 2018, 05:03 | Irvin Gilbert
Protesters take part in an anti Trump rally near the presidential Blue House in central Seoul South Korea during his visit
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during his recent trip to Asia that the US and China were seeing "clear signs" that sanctions are creating "some stress" for North Korea's economy, citizens and even military. It is very unusual for a North Korean leader to shun a top envoy from China.
North Korea has described as an absurdity, the decision by the United States to re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, with a foreign ministry spokesman warning it was a quote: "serious provocation".
The US is ratcheting up its sanctions on North Korea in line with its commitment to "maximum pressure" aimed to stop the rogue regime's nuclear and missile menace.
US President Donald Trump this week declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, a spot on a US blacklist Pyongyang had shed almost a decade ago.
China's trade with North Korea fell to $334.9 million in October, its lowest since February as imports sank to their weakest in years, data showed on Thursday, the latest sign that tough new sanctions cut business with its isolated neighbour.
The US removed North Korea from the list back in 2008 as part of an effort to improve ties.
North Korea has not launched any missiles since September 15 and critics have argued that it was on a path of de-escalation, but the latest provocation along with the sanctions imposed by Trump administration aimed at crippling the country's economy could lead to more missile launches by North Korea. On Tuesday the USA unveiled its fresh sanctions which also targeted North Korean shipping, raising the pressure on the North to abandon its nuclear programme.
Trump said strong US sanctions "supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime" - a claim that no one would deny.
The move infuriated China, which is North Korea's main trading partner.
Some North Korea analysts argue the state sponsor of terrorism designation and new sanctions could encourage a return to testing and belligerence from Pyongyang and discourage it from entering talks. Hill said North Korea had to be returned to the list in view of such acts of terror as the assassination of Kim Jong-Un's half-brother, Kim Jong-Nam, in Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the torture and death of university student Otto Warmbier.