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The North and South remain technically at war under a truce that ended fighting in the Korean War.

Mr. Ku said that, while the terrorism list has more bite to it, imposing trade sanctions by putting North Korea back on a separate Trading With the Enemy Act list would send a clear message of support to South Korea. The Bush administration also took North Korea off this list in 2008.

The White House condemned the Cheonan incident as an “act of aggression” that it said was “one more instance of North Korea’s unacceptable behavior and defiance of international law” and violated the armistice.