Quick Take: Air China Grounds North Korea Route

Nonetheless, the added onus to doing business with Pyongyang - now a designated state terrorism sponsor - could encourage actions outside the USA, said Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea scholar at Troy University in Seoul. It is very unusual for a North Korean leader to shun a top envoy from China.

Experts say the USA decision to put North Korea back on its terrorism blacklist will have limited practical effect, but may make a diplomatic solution of the standoff over its nuclear weapons program more hard.

The suspension comes shortly after US President Donald Trump visited Beijing and pressed his counterpart Xi Jinping to do more to rein in North Korea's nuclear programme.

New U.S. sanctions announced Tuesday against North Korea may add some substance to the symbolism, but only if China - which accounts for nearly all of North Korea's trade - decides to help. The U.S. has maintained North Korea must cease its program before negotiations can begin.

"It has become nearly a cliché in policy circles to state that North Korea is a rational, strategic actor".

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

Kyoto, Osaka, Yokohoma and Kyoto are among the Japanese targets, while Seoul, Degu and Jongwon in South Korea are also identified.

Lately there has been some increased rhetoric regarding the continued situation in North Korea. "The U.N. [Security Council] Sanction 2375 has been operating, so I think it will enhance pressure on Kim Jong Un's regime and worldwide society's distrust on North Korea".

China has been pushing what it calls a "freeze for freeze" agreement that would halt USA and South Korean large-scale military drills in return for North Korea suspending its testing and nuclear program.

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.

Christopher Hill is the former US diplomat who was instrumental in persuading first the secretary of state at the time, Condoleezza Rice, and then President Bush, to pull North Korea's name from the "terror list".

Announcing the designation, Trump told reporters at the White House: "In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of worldwide terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil".