Trump halts new North Korea sanctions despite lack of progress in talks
President Trump announced Friday that he was reversing a decision by the Treasury Department to impose new sanctions on North Korea, despite lack of progress in talks on getting the rogue regime to give up its nuclear weapons. It wasn’t immediately clear what Trump was referring to. On Thursday, the Treasury Department announced that the administration was taking action to punish two Chinese shipping companies accused of helping Pyongyang evade international trade sanctions on Kim Jong Un’s government. “The United States and our like-minded partners remain committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and believe that the full implementation of North Korea-related U.N. Security Council resolutions crucial to a successful outcome,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a Thursday statement. On Friday, North Korea pulled its staff from a joint office shared with South Korean officials in the town of Kaesong, the opening of which was heralded as a thawing of relations between the two nations. Negotiations between North Korea and the U.S. have stalled in the wake of Trump’s failed February summit with Kim in Hanoi. Despite walking away without a deal with Kim, Trump insisted that the two leaders continue to have a “very strong partnership.” Asked to clarify the president’s rationale for overturning his own Treasury secretary and blocking further sanctions on Pyongyang, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders cited the personal bond between the president and the North Korean dictator. “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” Sanders told reporters.