N. Korea Slams ‘Provocative’ Trump Decision to Relist it as Terrorism Sponsor

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. (Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. (Getty Images)
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N. Korea Slams ‘Provocative’ Trump Decision to Relist it as Terrorism Sponsor

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. (Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. (Getty Images)

Pyongyang condemned on Wednesday US President Donald Trump for his decision to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

It deemed the development as a “serious provocation" that justifies its development of nuclear weapons, reported the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

It asserted that 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."

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

Experts said 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 standoff more difficult.

Meanwhile, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha was in China to meet her Chinese counterpart as the countries work to repair strained relations ahead of a visit by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Beijing next month.

Kang and Wang Yi met Wednesday at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing shortly after a Chinese special envoy wrapped up a visit to North Korea, which China is attempting to convince to return to nuclear disarmament talks.

China's relations with South Korea soured last year over the deployment of a US anti-missile defense system in South Korea that Beijing fears will be able to monitor military activity in northeastern China.

China retaliated economically, banning group tours to South Korea and disrupting activities of South Korean businesses within China.

Earlier, China's government criticized "long-arm jurisdiction by other countries" after Washington penalized a group of Chinese companies accused of trading with North Korea.

A foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said Wednesday that Beijing abides by UN Security Council sanctions over the North's pursuit of nuclear and missile technology. However, he said, "we oppose unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction."

Lu gave no indication whether Beijing might take action in response.

Washington said Tuesday the companies accused of trading with North Korea will be barred from holding US assets or doing business in the United States.

Beijing has expressed growing frustration with North Korea but rejects allowing individual governments to take action and says any measures should avoid harming the North Korean public.



Ukraine Summit Attracts World Leaders, Fails to Isolate Russia

This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
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Ukraine Summit Attracts World Leaders, Fails to Isolate Russia

This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.

World leaders will join Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a summit this weekend to explore ways of ending the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two, but Russia isn't invited and the event will fall short of Kyiv's aim of isolating Moscow.

US Vice President Kamala Harris, French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Germany, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan are among those set to attend the June 15-16 meeting at the Swiss mountaintop resort of Buergenstock.

India, which has helped Moscow survive the shock of economic sanctions, is expected to send a delegation. Turkey and Hungary, which similarly maintain cordial ties with Russia, will be represented by their foreign ministers.

But despite months of intense Ukrainian and Swiss lobbying, some others will not be there, most notably China, a key consumer of Russian oil and supplier of goods that help Moscow maintain its manufacturing base.

"This meeting is already a result," Zelenskiy said in Berlin on Tuesday, while acknowledging the challenge of maintaining international support as the war, now well into its third year, grinds on.

Ninety-two countries and eight organizations will attend, Switzerland said. Organizers preparing a joint statement have battled to strike a balance between condemning Russia's actions and securing as many participants as possible, diplomats say.

A final draft of the summit declaration refers to Russia's "war" against Ukraine, and also underlines commitment to the UN charter and respect for international law, according to two people familiar with the document.

Participants not in agreement with the declaration have until the end of Friday to opt out, the sources said.

The Swiss foreign ministry declined to comment.

Switzerland wants the summit to pave the way for a "future peace process" in which Russia takes part - and to determine which country could take on the next phase.

'FUTILE'

The idea of a summit was originally floated after Zelenskiy presented a 10-point peace plan in late 2022.

Ulrich Schmid, a political scientist and Eastern Europe expert at the University of St. Gallen, said the summit appeared to be "a mixed bag" so far, given the show of support from some quarters and China's absence.

"Then the question arises: is peace actually doable?" Schmid added. "As long as (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is in power... it will be difficult."

Putin said on Friday that Russia would cease fire and enter peace talks if Ukraine dropped its NATO ambitions and withdrew its forces from four Ukrainian regions claimed by Moscow. Kyiv has repeatedly said its territorial integrity is non-negotiable.

Russia, which sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, has described the idea of a summit to which it is not invited as "futile".

Moscow casts its "special military operation" in Ukraine as part of a broader struggle with the West, which it says wants to bring Russia to its knees. Kyiv and the West say this is nonsense and accuse Russia of waging an illegal war of conquest.

Given such entrenched differences, the summit will focus on parts of Zelenskiy's plan broad enough to be palatable to most, if not all, participants. These include the need to guarantee food security, nuclear safety, freedom of navigation, prisoner exchanges, and the return of children, officials said.

Meanwhile, China, along with Brazil, is pushing a separate peace plan for Ukraine that calls for the participation of both warring parties. Moscow has voiced its support for Beijing's efforts to end the conflict.

Kyiv has not hidden its frustration at China's decision to skip the Swiss summit. Zelenskiy even accused Beijing of helping Russia to disrupt it, an extraordinary outburst against a global superpower with unrivalled influence over Moscow.

On the battlefield, the gathering comes at a difficult time for Ukraine. Russian troops, who control around 18% of Ukrainian territory, are advancing in the east in a war that has killed tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians, left villages, towns and cities in ruins and uprooted millions.