North Korea's hostile response to the U.S. decision to label the isolated country a terrorist state was alarming to many on Wednesday—but critics of the Trump administration's aggressive approach to foreign policy were not surprised by Pyongyang's statement, having warned that further antagonizing North Korea was both dangerous and unproductive.
Former negotiator on nuke talks with NK/Robert Gallucci puts it well: "..counterproductive,nutty & maybe tragically miscalculating." Trump Returns North Korea to List of State Sponsors of Terrorism https://t.co/Tvc9eyEKrR— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) November 22, 2017
Two days after the U.S. announced it was relisting North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism—a designation also given to Iran, Sudan, and Syria—the North Korean Central News Agency called the decision a "serious provocation."
"Our army and people are full of rage and anger toward the heinous gangsters who dared to put the name of our sacred country in this wretched list of 'terrorism' and are hardening their will to settle all accounts with those gangsters at any time in any way," said the agency in an official statement.
The government-run Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee called the president "old lunatic Trump" and said that the terrorist label had resulted in "hate and spirit to destroy the enemy" among North Koreans.
North Korea was taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2008, in a move designed to decrease tensions and pave the way for new diplomatic talks.
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David Usborne wrote in the Independent on Tuesday that the White House's decision was an unnecessary risk that would ultimately weaken the United States' case should the two nations arrive at the negotiating table in the future:
It is because we can be sure of so little—that this situation is so fragile—that anything that risks pushing either side to take military action should be avoided. That includes slapping Pyongyang with the state-sponsored terrorism label. It is, in fact, a bad idea, because the evidence to justify it is thin at best. That makes the US look like its breaking—or at least, bending—the rules of the game to suit its own purposes.
Usborne added that Trump's latest provocation, combined with new sanctions that were unveiled just after North Korea was added to the terrorist list, could result in Kim Jong-un ordering a new round of missile tests and launches, worsening the crisis.
The newest sanctions will affect shipping companies and are aimed at curbing China's trade relations with North Korea, and follow earlier sanctions on the country's seafood and coal exports, depriving Pyongyang of nearly a third of its revenue.
Following the Trump administration's actions against North Korea this week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) tweeted that the United States' continued focus of the danger Kim Jong-un ostensibly poses is a show of hypocrisy as the government continues to support the terror-inducing actions of other countries.
While the US now lists North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, we have supported Saudi Arabia's brutal war in Yemen, which has killed untold civilians, sparked a cholera outbreak, and a famine. We must #StopArmingTerrorists and stop the hypocrisy in our foreign policy.— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) November 21, 2017