Speaking on Friday, President Trump finally explained why he overruled the Treasury Department on a new round of sanctions against North Korea, saying he believes that there was no reason to impose new sanctions at this time.
“They are suffering greatly in North Korea,” Trump told reporters, saying that he believes it is important to maintain his personal relationship with Kim Jong Un ‘as long as you can,” and that meant new sanctions weren’t necessary.
Despite having the level of “great suffering” that the US seems to be shooting for already, Trump did say to reporters he retains the ability to add new sanctions against North Korea later if he feels its worthwhile, but that it won’t happen just now.
The new sanctions were fairly minimal at any rate, reflective of the reality that the US already forbids materially all economic activity within North Korea as it is. The new sanctions meant to target Chinese companies accused of buying coal originally mined in North Korea.
The administration has decided that what success they’ve achieved diplomatically with North Korea is because of the “maximum pressure” sanctions in place. This is a big reason why they oppose any sanctions relief, believing they will lose the leverage they have if the suffering eases.
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