24 November, 2017
The North Koreans said President Trump's decision to put North Korea back on a list of states that sponsor terrorism is a "serious provocation". North Korea's state-run organization, the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, released a separate statement, which called for Washington to immediately withdraw its decision.
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.
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.
Trump said strong USA sanctions "supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime" - a claim that no one would deny.
The UN estimated the latest ban, imposed after its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July, would slash by North Korea's $3-billion annual export revenue by a third.
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While China has backed the United Nations measures, it has been reluctant to take the more drastic step of cutting off oil supplies through a pipeline to North Korea's lone refinery, fearing that regime collapse could lead to chaos on their common border. But the unilateral measures, analysts said, only prevent US companies and banks from doing business with those sanctioned, which was already happening in practice.
The US removed North Korea from the list back in 2008 as part of an effort to improve ties.
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 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.
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".