Donald Trump has announced that he is ordering the withdrawal of recently announced North Korea-related sanctions imposed by the US treasury department.
“It was announced today by the US Treasury that additional large-scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea,” Trump said on Twitter. “I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”
It was not immediately clear what sanctions Trump was referring to. There were no new US sanctions on North Korea announced on Friday but on Thursday the United States blacklisted two Chinese shipping companies that it said helped North Korea evade sanctions over its nuclear weapons program.
The White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, did not specify which sanctions Trump spoke of but said: “President Trump likes Chairman Kim [Jong-un] and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”
The sanctions on the Chinese shippers were the first since the second US-North Korea summit broke down last month.
On Thursday, White House national security adviser John Bolton praised the US treasury for taking “important action” to stop North Korea’s illicit shipping activities. “Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea’s sanctions evasion,” he tweeted.
Adam Schiff, a Democrat who heads the intelligence committee in the House of Representatives, blasted Trump for cancelling 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 tweeted.
Hours after the sanctions announcement, North Korea on Friday pulled out of a liaison office with the South, a major setback for Seoul.
North Korea said it was quitting the joint liaison office set up in September in the border city of Kaesong after a historic summit between Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, early last year.