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. Trump said that the terror designation and new sanctions would be part of a series of moves over the next two weeks to reinforce his "maximum pressure campaign" against Kim Jong-Un's regime.
Critics contend that sanctions have not had significant impact on North Korean policies while Kim has engaged in more missile tests than were ordered by his father, Kim Jong-Il, or grandfather, the founder of the regime, Kim Il-Sung.
Air China is the only airline besides North Korea's own Air Koryo that operates flights in and out of the isolated country.
The US government is also doing well to encourage other countries to join in.
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Included was an image of " Game of Thrones " Night King character, leader of an army of zombies, with the words, "Good luck HBO ". In July, he began sending taunting emails to HBO executives, using " Game of Thrones " imagery and slogans, prosecutors said.
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The Argentine navy said an electrical outage on the diesel-electric-propelled vessel might have downed its communications. Earlier hopes that searchers may have heard communication attempts by the crew have not panned out, the military said.
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In recent months, Trump has threatened North Korea with "total destruction" if it refuses to curb its nuclear missile program while simultaneously escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea with bombastic name-calling.
But North Korea is unlikely to give in to the sanctions and come back to the negotiation table anytime soon. The White House has said it will not tolerate the North's testing or deployment of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to USA cities.
Trump met China's President Xi Jinping earlier this month and is bullish about the US-China relationship, but concerns remain that Beijing is not ready to take tough measures against Kim. The spokesperson noted that their actions included expulsion of North Korean workers and diplomats.
Mr Trump told reporters on Monday the decision "should have happened years ago" and demanded Pyongyang: "end its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile development".
Christopher Hill is the former USA 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". Washington removed Pyongyang from the list in 2008 to reward it for progress on dismantling its nuclear programs under a six-party deal, which it later violated. One of his favorite comments is the US should have re-designated North Korea as a sponsor of terror "a long time ago" - that was a dig against Obama's policy of "strategic patience" in dealing with the North.