President Donald Trump on Friday declared he would unwind new sanctions on North Korea that his administration rolled out just a day before, announcing the remarkable reversal in a tweet.
“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,” he wrote. “I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”
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In a follow-up statement explaining the reversal, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”
Trump appeared to be referring to an announcement on Thursday in which Treasury said it was sanctioning two China-based shipping companies accused of helping North Korea evade existing economic sanctions.
Trump’s directive comes almost a month after his second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, which was cut short when it became clear neither side could come to an agreement on a path toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
Trump and the North Koreans offered differing reasons for the breakdown of negotiations, with Trump saying North Korea demanded full sanctions relief for only incremental steps toward denuclearization, and North Korean officials disputing that account.
The president on Friday did not explain the reason for reversing his administration’s policy, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement Thursday were aimed at “making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk.”