US Sanctions, Terror Designation Increase Pressure on North Korea

North Korea says US terror sponsor label a ‘serious provocation’. – AFP file

It said the US action shows North Korea should continue to "keep the treasured nuclear sword in our hands more tightly" to protect itself from American hostility.

But analysts question whether the moves, which also target Chinese trade, can get North Korea to the negotiating table.

"By re-listing (North Korea) as a 'state sponsor of terrorism, ' the USA 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".

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. A day after placing North Korea back on the list, the Trump administration on Tuesday imposed new sanctions on a slew of North Korean shipping firms and Chinese trading companies in an effort to increase pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program and deprive it of foreign revenue.

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North Korea condemned its USA terror listing as a "serious provocation" on Wednesday, warning that sanctions would never force it to abandon its nuclear weapons 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. The White House has said it will not tolerate the North's testing or deployment of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to United States cities.

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".

Trump's decision comes amid heightened nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula.

"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. It was that year that Bush removed North Korea from the "terror" list in hopes of persuading North Korea to abide by agreements hammered out in six-party talks calling for a specific schedule for dismantling its nuclear program.

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