SEOUL – North Korea condemned on Wednesday a decision by the United States to put it back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism after nine years.
According to official news agency KCNA, the spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs said that the measure – announced by US President Donald Trump on Monday – was a serious provocation and an endemic violation of the country’s dignity.
Pyongyang accused Washington of using the list as a tool to destroy the independence of countries that do not subjugate to it, adding that its return to the list after almost a decade shows the incompetence of the list itself.
North Korea was part of the US list of state sponsors of terrorism – which currently includes Iran, Syria and Sudan – between January 1988 and October 2008, when it was withdrawn from the list by ex-president George W. Bush in an attempt to negotiate its nuclear disarmament.
In the past, the list – compiled by the US department of state – has included Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Cuba.
Cuba was taken off the list after its relations with the US improved during the final stages of the Barack Obama administration.
While announcing the decision at a White House meeting with members of his Cabinet, Trump had said that the move should have happened years ago and urged the North Korean regime to end the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Pyongyang’s addition to the list of state sponsors of terrorism was accompanied by new US sanctions on North Korea approved on Tuesday and aimed to choke off its transport sector.
The US has imposed sanctions on companies that had engaged with maritime and terrestrial shipping with North Korea, and against 20 ships charged with carrying supplies to the country, in an effort to force the country to end its weapons program.