- US President Donald Trump has stopped new sanctions against North Korea.
- The United States Department of the Treasury had previously acted against two Chinese shipping companies.
- Trump's security adviser had previously praised the new sanctions.
Shortly after the US Treasury announced that it has imposed new sanctions on North Korea, US President Donald Trump said via Twitter that the sanctions should be withdrawn.
"It was announced today by the US Treasury Department that large sanctions would be imposed in addition to those already in force against North Korea and I have ordered today that these sanctions be withdrawn," the US president wrote.
It was not immediately clear what sanctions Trump meant, as no new measures had been announced on Friday. However, on Thursday, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies that helped North Korea bypass international sanctions. According to US media reports, these are the first North Korea sanctions since the failed summit between the two countries at the end of February.
Sarah Sanders, White House spokesman, also did not tell journalists what sanctions Trump might have meant. "President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he does not think these sanctions will be necessary," she said.
"Important actions today," wrote Bolton
Trump's decision could lead to disputes with his security adviser John Bolton and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Both had praised the new sanctions. "Important actions today," wrote US security adviser John Bolton in response to Twitter. Finance Minister Mnuchin said: "We make it very clear that shipping companies using fraudulent tactics to cover up illicit trade with North Korea are putting themselves at great risk."
However, the measures are not a sign that the US has increased pressure on North Korea, said an unnamed senior government official CNN. After the failed second US-North Korea summit, there was the fear that tensions over the North Korean nuclear program could increase again.
Last week, North Korea's leadership questioned further negotiations over its nuclear weapons program. However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was confident that he was optimistic that negotiations with North Korea could continue. The summit between ruler Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in Vietnam at the end of February had come to a surprise without a letter of intent.