Only Cuba remains on the list.

Deteriorating ties

In depth


 North Korea's nervous neighbours
 
N Korea's nuclear trump card
 Timeline: N Korea's bomb
 Obama condemns 'reckless' N Korea
 N Korea nuclear test angers China
 World reaction: N Korea bomb test

Videos
 A rare look at life inside North Korea
 
Hans Blix on North Korea's nuclear fallout
 Double standards on nuclear weapons
 South Korea's nuclear fears
 China's troublesome ally
 N Korea test sparks alarm
 UN 'should expel N Korea'
 N Korea's 'nuclear gamble'

But Bush had, at the same time, slapped restrictions for one year on property dealings with North Korea, which would have otherwise been lifted.

Despite the Obama administration saying that it would welcome fresh talks with the North, relations with the communist state continue to deteriorate amid international condemnation and sanctions in response to its recent nuclear test, and defiant rhetoric from Pyongyang.

The extension of US sanctions comes as Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, called the foreign ministers of Russia and China to discuss efforts to enforce UN-backed punishments for North Korea's nuclear test.

Ian Kelly, a department spokesman, would not discuss whether Yang Jiechi, the Chinese foreign minister, and Clinton talked about a US destroyer following a North Korean ship along China's coast.

According to some reports, the North Korean freighter, the Kang Nam, is carrying weapons including missiles and missile parts bound for Myanmar.

The Kang Nam is the first North Korean ship to be monitored under new UN sanctions that authorise member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo.