North Korea says US designation as terror sponsor justifies nuclear weapons development

North Korea says US designation as terror sponsor justifies nuclear weapons development

North Korea has called US president Donald Trump’s decision to relist it as a state sponsor of terrorism a "serious provocation" that justifies its development of nuclear weapons.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the country has no connection to terrorism and "doesn’t care whether or not the United States places the hat of terrorism on our heads."

It said the US action shows North Korea should continue to "firmly grab the treasured nuclear sword" to protect itself from American hostility.

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 nuclear stand-off more difficult.

President Trump relisted North Korea as a terror sponsor on Monday.

Mr Trump said the designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism was long overdue, and he promised a new wave of sanctions as part of a "maximum pressure campaign" over the North’s development of nuclear weapons that could soon pose a direct threat to the US mainland.

North Korea joins Iran, Sudan and Syria on the blacklist.

The North had been designated for two decades until 2008 when it was removed in a bid to salvage international talks aimed at halting its nuclear efforts. The talks collapsed soon after and have not been revived since.

AP

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