United States President Donald Trump on Friday renewed sanctions against North Korea for a year, claiming that the country still poses an “extraordinary threat”. Trump’s statement comes barely 10 days after he claimed there was no longer a nuclear threat from Pyongyang, following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the Government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” Trump wrote in an executive order on Friday, The Washington Post reported.
These sanctions were originally introduced under an executive order in 2008. Since then, they have been renewed by former President Barack Obama and Trump himself.
On June 12, Trump and Kim met in Singapore and signed a joint statement in which the US agreed to establish official diplomatic relations with North Korea while Kim affirmed his commitment to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula. This was the first meeting between the heads of government of the two countries.
Though Trump had claimed after the summit that the sanctions against North Korea will stay in place for now, he had also tweeted that everybody can “feel much safer” and “sleep well” as the country no longer posed a nuclear threat. The following day, he claimed the dialogue had helped avert a “potential nuclear catastrophe”.
This order comes at a time when the United States announced an indefinite suspension of several military exercises in the Korean peninsula to comply with the agreement with North Korea.
Tensions between the US and North Korea escalated in 2017 after Pyongyang stepped up its efforts to boost its nuclear weapons programme. US President Trump warned Kim Jong-un, and the two leaders frequently traded ridicule, insults and threats.
In April, North Korea announced its intention to denuclearise the Korean peninsula after the Panmunjom summit with South Korea. Seoul and Pyongyang also vowed to end the Korean War.
The Singapore summit was the first time that a North Korean leader met a sitting US president. Since the Korean War in the 1950s, the leaders of the two countries have never met or even spoken on the phone, Reuters reported.