PoliticsForeign Policy


Trump Surprisingly Tweets Plan To Withdraw Some North Korea Sanctions

The tweet was followed by a statement from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, but neither really clarifies what President Trump is talking about.
Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 22, 2019

President Donald Trump made a surprising and confusing announcement on Twitter Friday regarding North Korean sanctions. 

The tweet said,"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!"

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders sent out a statement a short time later, saying "President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary."

But neither of those statements really clear up what the president is talking about. 

On Thursday, the Treasury Department did take action against two shipping companies that helped North Korea evade sanctions, but both are based in China. But it's hard to see how that would qualify as the "large scale sanctions" President Trump mentioned in the tweet. 

Also on Thursday, the Treasury Department put out updated guidance on addressing North Korea's illicit shipping practices. That document does include new sections that accuse specific ships of being involved in ship-to-ship transfers or North Korean coal exports. But it specifically says those additions are "not a sanctions list."

Media outlets across the country quickly tried to add context to the president's announcement, but until the White House releases more details, all those assertions, including our own, are more of an educated guess.