Trump cancels Treasury Dept.’s sanctions against North Korea, but causes confusion about which ones
In a highly unusual move, President Trump on Friday said he will cancel “additional, large scale” sanctions the Treasury Department intended to impose 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!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
The president’s declaration sparked confusion, because it was unclear which sanctions he wanted to roll back.
The Treasury’s latest decision on North Korea happened late Thursday, when it decided to blacklist two Chinese shipping companies for helping North Korea evade sanctions.
But the administration clarified it applied to future sanctions that Treasury intended to impose, but hadn’t formally unveiled.
Mr. Trump said he saw no need crack down, as he tries to build his relationship with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and denuclearize the Korean peninsula. A recent summit between the leaders in Hanoi, Vietnam, ended without a deal, though the president is trying to maintain the relationship.
“President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, without elaborating on the targeted sanctions.
Democrats accused the president of foolishly pandering to the North Korean leader with the U-Turn.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said Mr. Trump is “being played,” the Democratic National Committee dubbed the turnabout “insane” and the House Foreign Affairs Committee said decisions like these shouldn’t be made “on the fly.”
“Sanctions are a policy tool to slow and stop the regime’s illegal activity, not something the president should reverse because he ‘likes’ the North Korean dictator,” the committee tweeted.