Trump says new sanctions on North were unnecessaryU.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that he decided to stop additional sanctions on North Korea because he didn’t think they were necessary at this time.
Speaking in a press conference in Florida, Trump seemed to clear up confusion about which measures he was referring to when he announced last week that he had ordered the withdrawal of additional sanctions.
Initially, it was thought that he was reversing the Treasury Department’s sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies accused of helping the North evade sanctions.
But later news reports quoted U.S. officials as saying the president had meant future sanctions that were being planned for the coming days.
Trump was asked Friday whether he was upset over the sanctions put in place by the Treasury Department.
“Not at all. Because they were intended to go,” he said. “People thought that they would go at that time. They had the right to do that. I just decided that I would not let it happen.”
Bloomberg reported this week that the president did in fact mean to reverse the Treasury sanctions but was convinced not to by his aides.
As of late Friday, the press release announcing the measures against the Chinese companies remained on the Treasury’s website.
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held their second summit in Vietnam last month to try to advance a broad denuclearization agreement they reached at their first summit in Singapore in June.
The summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, collapsed without a deal due to disagreements over U.S. demands for North Korea’s complete denuclearization and North Korean demands for significant sanctions relief from the United States.
Still, Trump has expressed openness to continuing negotiations.
“I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. He’s somebody that I get along with very well. We understand each other,” the president said. “They are suffering greatly in North Korea. They’re having a hard time in North Korea. And I just didn’t think additional sanctions at this time were necessary. It doesn’t mean I don’t put them on later, but I didn’t think that additional sanctions at this time were necessary.”