U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he ordered the withdrawal of additional North Korea sanctions, though did not specify which designations were being rolled back.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
“I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”
According to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s website, there were no public announcements on DPRK sanctions on Friday, though new Iran sanctions were issued earlier in the day.
Trump’s remarks also follow additional U.S. North Korea sanctions issued on Thursday, though only two new designations were added, and the sanctions package did not seem large when compared to other, previous actions.
The new designations issued by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control also targeted two Chinese companies for facilitating sanctions breaking trade with the DPRK and no new North Korean individuals or entities were sanctions.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that the additional sanctions were an important part of the denuclearization process.
“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 UN Security Council resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome,” Mnuchin said in an accompanying press release.
“Treasury will continue to enforce our sanctions, and we are making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk.”
At the time of writing, the U.S. Department of Treasury had not responded to whether Trump’s remarks referred to the recent designations or an upcoming sanctions package.
Trump’s comments on social media come after South Korean Vice Minister of Unification Chun Hae-sung announced the DPRK has withdrawn its personnel from the inter-Korean joint liaison office at the now-shuttered Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC)
The move is a diplomatic step backward for Seoul, who had hoped to use the liaison office to as a “channel for round-the-clock communication between the two Koreas.”
“The government regrets the North’s decision to pull out,” the vice unification minister told assembled media. “We hope that the inter-Korean joint liaison office will be normally operated, as agreed to between the two Koreas, when the North returns at the earliest possible time.”
Pyongyang did not provide any specific reason for the withdrawal, he added, saying the North Korean staff had taken some documents with them.