Quick Take: Air China Grounds North Korea Route

North Korea Blasts US Terrorism Blacklisting

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during his recent trip to Asia that the US and China were seeing "clear signs" that sanctions are creating "some stress" for North Korea's economy, citizens and even military. Air China last cancelled flights to North Korea in April, citing low customer demand, but resumed them soon after.

The latest sanctions, the sixth of their kind since President Donald Trump took office early this year, marked the first time that the U.S. government blacklisted North Korean vessels.

The sanctions showed the determination of the U.S.to stifle trade across the Yalu or Amnok River between the Chinese city of Dandong and Sinuiju on the North Korean side.

Pyongyang also said on Wednesday that putting North Korea back on the terrorism blacklist will only strengthen its resolve to further develop the communist country's nuclear weapons programme.

New sanctions meted out by the U.S. government Tuesday targeted one Chinese individual, 13 entities in China and North Korea, and 20 vessels owned by North Korean shipping companies.

While China has backed the United Nations measures, it has been reluctant to take the more drastic step of cutting off oil supplies through a pipeline to North Korea's lone refinery, fearing that regime collapse could lead to chaos on their common border.

North Korea Blasts US Terrorism Blacklisting

Trump's September executive order targeted North Korea's textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing industries, and was created to "cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea's efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind".

He further disclosed that the designation is long overdue step and part of the U.S.

The UN estimated the latest ban, imposed after its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July, would slash by North Korea's $3-billion annual export revenue by a third.

Some North Korea analysts argue the state sponsor of terrorism designation and new sanctions could encourage a return to testing and belligerence from Pyongyang and discourage it from entering talks.

Upon making his decision public during a White House cabinet meeting on Monday, Trump accused the North of backing "acts of worldwide terrorism" and said the move should have been made "years ago".

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