President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he has reversed his administration’s decision to slap new sanctions on North Korea, with his press secretary explaining that he “likes” leader Kim Jong Un and doesn’t think they’re necessary.
It’s unclear, however, which sanctions the president was referencing in his tweet, which took Treasury officials by surprise.
“It was announced today by the US Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea,” Trump wrote from his private club in Palm Beach.
“I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about which sanctions Trump was referring to. No new action against North Korea was announced by the Treasury Department on Friday, though Trump this week did threaten that new ones could be added.
On Thursday, his administration did sanction two Chinese shipping companies suspected of helping North Korea evade sanctions - the first targeted actions taken against Pyongyang since Trump and Kim met in Hanoi, Vietnam, last month for negotiations about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
The summit ended without a deal.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday that Trump “likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”
The White House had said Thursday’s sanctions were evidence the US was maintaining pressure on North Korea in an effort to coax its leader to give up his nuclear weapons program.