Despite a recent thaw in relations with Kim Jong-un, President Donald Trump is renewing US sanctions on North Korea for another year, justified by “an unusual and extraordinary” nuclear weapons threat.
“The actions and policies of the government of North Korea, including its pursuit of nuclear and missile programs; and other provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies… continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the United States,” read a White House statement on Friday.
Trump extends the "national emergency" related to North Korea's nuclear weapons program. (National Emergencies basically = authority for sanctions). pic.twitter.com/H6FBfVuKDG
— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) June 22, 2018
After meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore earlier this month, Trump had promised to remove the sanctions “when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor.” The president added: “I look forward to taking them off.”
Despite summit with Kim Jong-un, Pres Trump notifies Congress he's renewing national emergency with respect to North Korea to keep US sanctions and restrictions in place for another year. Cites NK nukes & missiles as a national security threat to the US.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) June 22, 2018
"…the national emergency with respect to North Korea… is to continue in effect beyond June 26, 2018." pic.twitter.com/xi2WMT3bh5
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) June 22, 2018
On his way home from the Singapore summit, Trump declared that North Korea no longer posed a nuclear threat to the US.
“There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” he tweeted. “Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!”
Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
Friday’s announcement, however, signals a return to business as usual. By declaring the North Korean threat a ‘national emergency,’ Trump simply re-applies sanctions that have been imposed on Pyongyang every year since 2008.
The US sanctions on North Korea are among the most punitive in the world. Trump did, however, grant Kim some concessions after the June 12 summit, promising to temporarily end bi-annual military exercises with South Korea. Trump told reporters that the ‘war games’ were “very expensive” and “provocative.”
As part of the agreement signed between the two leaders, Kim made a vague commitment to work towards denuclearization, a goal that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hopes will be achieved within two and a half years.
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