WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he had removed newly imposed sanctions against North Korea, even though the Treasury Department has not taken any direct action against the nation this week.
It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large-scale sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2019
On Thursday, the administration announced that sanctions would be applied against two Chinese shipping companies who have violated international restrictions against moving supplies to North Korea, but did not promise new actions against the nation itself.
In response to questions surrounding the confusing tweet, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders offered little clarity.
“President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” Sanders said in a statement.
Sanders did not specify which sanctions the president was referring to.
Trump ignored shouted questions on the alleged sanctions during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago Friday afternoon with Caribbean leaders.
Last month, a summit between the U.S. and North Korea in Hanoi fell apart after a disagreement over lifting sanctions.
Trump claimed that Pyongyang had sought to lift all of them in exchange for denuclearizing. North Korean officials countered that they had only asked for partial relief.
Trump has nevertheless stuck to an optimistic tone when discussing North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, even amid signs that the nation may be re-upping activity at a missile launch site.
“Our relationship with North Korea — Kim Jong Un and myself — Chairman Kim — I think it’s a very good one,” Trump told reporters outside the White House earlier this month. “I would be surprised, in a negative way, if he did anything that was not per our understanding. But we’ll see what happens.”