President Trump cited an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to U.S. national security as he acted Friday to maintain long-standing economic restrictions on North Korea, including the freezing of any assets in the United States.
The official declaration, contained in a notice to Congress, came despite Trump’s assertion this month that his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended the North’s nuclear weapons threat.
“Sleep well tonight!” Trump tweeted June 13, the day after he and Kim met in Singapore.
Harsh economic restrictions will continue for one year under the order Trump signed Friday. The paperwork keeps in place restrictions first imposed a decade ago by President George W. Bush. The ban on the transfer of any U.S. assets by North Korea’s leaders or its ruling party has been extended or expanded several times by both President Barack Obama and Trump himself in response to North Korean missile tests and other actions.
“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 constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” Trump wrote Friday.
The action was pro forma, but notable for the stern tone and list of accusations against North Korea just 10 days after the warm meeting between Trump and Kim. Trump said after the summit that he believed Kim was serious about giving up nuclear weapons and transforming his stunted economy.
“Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump wrote on Twitter on June 13. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Anne Gearan