Thursday, 18 January, 2018

European researchers claim to have identified North Korea's list of targets

President Donald Trump Inauguration Ceremony North Korea Blasts US Terrorism Blacklisting
Lillian Steele | 24 November, 2017, 01:20

USA officials cited the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother in a Malaysian airport earlier this year as an act of terrorism.

Experts say the US decision to put North Korea back on its terrorism blacklist will have limited practical effect, but may make a diplomatic solution of the standoff over its nuclear weapons program more hard.

According to a report in The Financial Chronicle, Air China has suspended flights to North Korea, further limiting the secretive state's links with the outside world, in what the government said was a business decision with no political motives. 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. But the unilateral measures, analysts said, only prevent US companies and banks from doing business with those sanctioned, which was already happening in practice.

China has been pushing what it calls a "freeze for freeze" agreement that would halt US and South Korean large-scale military drills in return for North Korea suspending its testing and nuclear program.

The announcement delivered via the state media KCNA was the first official response to the sanctions which targeted one individual, 13 companies and 20 vessels, the USA says are engaged in millions of dollars worth of trade with North Korea.

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. 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.

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. China, moreover, still pours oil into North Korea, fueling an economy that otherwise survives on far less efficient coal.

Literally, it means North Korea would join Iran, Sudan and Syria on the list of state sponsors of terror.

North Korea will re-join Iran, Sudan, and Syria who are in the USA list of state terrorism, as these countries "repeatedly provided support for acts of global terrorism".

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