Trump withdraws new North Korea sanctions

Minnie Murray
March 24, 2019

And they hit two Chinese shipping companies that have been doing business with North Korea - they are not, as Trump implied, additional "large scale" sanctions on North Korea itself.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued only a brief statement saying that Trump "likes" North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and "doesn't think these sanctions will be necessary".

The U.S. also updated a North Korea shipping advisory, adding dozens of vessels that are believed to have engaged in ship-to-ship transfers of oil with North Korean tankers or exported North Korean coal in order to evade sanctions.

The administration source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump's tweet had nothing to do with the Thursday sanctions, but rather was meant to refer to a decision to not go forward with additional large-scale sanctions on North Korea at this time.

The president's decision comes after he abruptly left his second summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam last month. However, a similar Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi earlier this month came to an early close amid disagreements concerning USA sanctions and Pyongyang's failure to denuclearize.

Analysts, as well as North Korean officials, have pointed to the presence of White House national security adviser John Bolton, a vocal hawk against Pyongyang, at the negotiating table just prior to the talks collapsing. "Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea's sanctions evasion", Bolton tweeted. "Trump's canceling out of sanctions might have been a bid to get North Korea to change its thinking".

The United States has led worldwide efforts to press North Korea through sanctions to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

One of the two Chinese shipping companies, Dalian Haibo International Freight Co.

There has been no sign of direct contact between Washington and Pyongyang since the collapse of the February 27-28 summit, though Trump has stressed his good personal relationship with Kim and his administration has said repeatedly it is willing to reengage.

"No matter what happens now, you can bet the North Koreans will only want to deal with Trump from now on considering this action", Kazianis said.

Watch: Is the North Korea threat really over? . Ltd and Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding Co. Ltd. But hours after the tweet, reports emerged that he was citing a new set of broader sanctions that the Treasury Department had not yet announced.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday: "We are making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk".

And on Friday, Pyongyang withdrew from a liaison office it established with South Korea previous year that allowed the rivals to communicate around the clock.

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