PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he decided not to put additional sanctions on North Korea a week earlier because he wanted to maintain a good relationship with leader Kim Jong Un and because the North Korean people are already “suffering greatly.”
“I didn’t think that additional sanctions at this time were necessary. It doesn’t mean I don’t put them on later,” Trump told reporters at his Florida resort.
A week ago Trump said he had decided against imposing new large-scale sanctions on North Korea.
Trump and Kim met in Hanoi last month for a second summit, which collapsed over conflicting demands by Pyongyang for sanctions relief and by Washington for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
North Korea argues that its weapons program is needed for defense.
Washington has said it aims to re-engage with Kim, but North Korea has warned it is considering suspending talks and may rethink a freeze on missile and nuclear tests, in place since 2017, unless Washington makes concessions.
“They are suffering greatly in North Korea. They’re having a hard time,” Trump said on Friday.
The president said he had a very good relationship with Kim. “I think it’s very important that you maintain that relationship at least as long as you can,” Trump said.