US President Donald Trump on Friday abruptly announced the cancelation of sanctions imposed by the US Department of the Treasury to tighten international pressure on North Korea.
“It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions,” Trump said on Twitter.
He appeared to be referring to measures unveiled on Thursday that targeted two Chinese companies accused of helping North Korea evade tight international sanctions meant to pressure Pyongyang into ending its nuclear weapons program.
However, the Washington Post cited Trump administration officials as saying that the president’s tweet referenced future sanctions that had not been announced and were scheduled for “the coming days.”
The Thursday sanctions were the first new sign of pressure since talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un broke down in Hanoi less than a month ago.
However, Trump, who has previously spoken of “love” for the totalitarian leader, appears to retain hope that his strong personal relationship will bear fruit.
“President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff blasted Trump for canceling sanctions “imposed only yesterday and championed by his own national security advisor, because he ‘loves’ Kim.”
“Foolish naivete is dangerous enough. Gross incompetence and disarray in the White House make it even worse,” Schiff said on Twitter.
On Thursday, Trump national security adviser John Bolton said on Twitter that the sanctions were meant to put an end to “illicit shipping practices” by North Korea.
“Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea’s sanctions evasion,” he said.
China complained, saying that it has enforced all UN resolutions and opposed “any country imposing unilateral sanctions and taking long-arm jurisdiction against any Chinese entity according to their own domestic laws.”
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