North Korea says USA terror sponsor label a 'serious provocation'

KCNA handout of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting the Sungri Motor Plant Thomson Reuters

24 November, 2017

Nonetheless, the added onus to doing business with Pyongyang - now a designated state terrorism sponsor - could encourage actions outside the USA, said Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea scholar at Troy University in Seoul.

"By re-listing (North Korea) as a 'state sponsor of terrorism, ' the US openly revealed to the whole world its intention to destroy our ideology and system by using all kinds of means and methods", the KCNA said".

In recent months, Trump has threatened North Korea with "total destruction" if it refuses to curb its nuclear missile program while simultaneously escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea with bombastic name-calling.

North Korea has criticized the USA for relisting the country as a state sponsor of terrorism. The sanctions specifically named four companies in Dandong that have been trading with North Korea despite United Nations sanctions that China's President Xi Jinping has said he fully supports. The U.S. has maintained North Korea must cease its program before negotiations can begin. One of his favorite comments is the USA 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. He and Trump appeared to have gotten along quite well during Trump's recent visit - an occasion for him to call for strengthening South Korea's armed forces.

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Lately there has been some increased rhetoric regarding the continued situation in North Korea. North Korean leaders and state media have said North Korea will not negotiate its nuclear program. Trump said that the terror designation and new sanctions 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.

The world's second-largest economy bought goods worth $90.75 million from North Korea in October, down sharply from $145.8 million in September and the lowest on government records going back to January 2014, data from China's General Administration of Customs shows.

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.

Upon making his decision public during a White House cabinet meeting on Monday, Trump accused the North of backing "acts of worldwide terrorism" and said the move should have been made "years ago".

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