SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea denounced on Wednesday U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to relist it as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “serious provocation and violent infringement”, North Korean state media reported.
Trump put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism on Monday, a designation that allows the United States to impose more sanctions and risks inflaming tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
In North Korea’s first reaction to the designation, a spokesman for the foreign ministry denied in an interview with the state media outlet KCNA, that his government engaged in any terrorism.
He called the state sponsor of terrorism label “just a tool for American style authoritarianism that can be attached or removed at any time in accordance with its interests”.
The U.S. designation only made North Korea more committed to retaining its nuclear arsenal, the official said.
“As long as the U.S. continues with its anti-DPRK hostile policy, our deterrence will be further strengthened,” he said, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The U.S. will be held entirely accountable for all the consequences to be entailed by its impudent provocation to the DPRK.”
The designation came a week after Trump returned from a 12-day, five-nation trip to Asia in which he made containing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions a centerpiece of his discussions.
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 international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil.”
Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Robert Birsel