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.
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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