On Thursday, the Trump administration slapped new sanctions on companies accused of helping North Korea, but on Friday, President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing the move.
Why? According to CNBC, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump removed the sanctions because he likes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Sanders clarified the president’s tweet saying, “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”
CNBC said “Trump’s tweet and the press secretary’s clarification of it sent waves of confusion throughout Washington, from the Pentagon to the White House itself.”
The move directly flies in the face of National Security Adviser John Bolton’s statements on Thursday, which he made after new sanctions against two Chinese shipping companies were announced by the Treasury Department.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that the latest sanctions were intended to make “explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk,” Politico reported.
According to the Treasury, the Chinese companies have “aided Pyongyang in circumventing U.S. and international sanctions” — measures taken by the U.S. and its allies to pressure North Korea into dismantling and abandoning its nuclear and missiles programs.
Though Trump perceives that he and Kim have a good relationship personally, their last summit ended without reaching a deal on denuclearization, and in the time since, “reports have emerged of new activity at a North Korean missile research center and rocket site.”