SEOUL – The South Korean government hailed on Tuesday the re-inclusion of North Korea by the United States on the state sponsors of terrorism list, saying it can help achieve a peaceful resolution to the nuclear challenge posed by Pyongyang.
“The US action is expected to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue as part of the joint effort by the international community to bring North Korea to the road of denuclearization through strong sanctions and pressure,” said the Foreign Ministry in Seoul in a statement.
Shortly after US President Donald Trump announced his decision to put North Korea back on the list, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at a press conference that Washington continued to seek diplomacy as the way to solve the current crisis.
“As indicated by Secretary Tillerson’s remarks, despite the relisting, the common stance of South Korea and the US to continue with efforts to bring North Korea to the negotiating table for a peaceful resolution of its nuclear issue remains unchanged,” added the ministry in the text.
South Korea in February called on the US to blacklist Pyongyang again following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged elder brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia.
Pyongyang’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism is accompanied by new sanctions that the US Department of Treasury plans to impose Tuesday.
However, most experts believe that the re-inclusion of North Korea on the list, from which it had been withdrawn in 2008 to advance negotiations on denuclearization, will have a rather symbolic effect given the enormous amount of sanctions that the country is already suffering over its repeated weapons tests.