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President Donald 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 earlier this month that his 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 a 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 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, 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 pose 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 afterward that he believes Kim is serious about giving up nuclear weapons and transforming his stunted economy.

[NUCLEAR NORTH KOREA: Maps, data on country’s nuclear program]

"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."

"Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea," he added. "President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer -- sleep well tonight!"

The confident, optimistic language marked a complete reversal from Trump's criticism of Kim as "little Rocket Man" and his threats last year to deliver "fire and fury" to North Korea if necessary. The insults and nuclear brinkmanship alarmed other world leaders, who feared war and a new nuclear arms race.

Trump's decision to cancel joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises drew strong criticism from Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., who called it a concession.

"It is North Korea -- through its nuclear and missile programs, aggressive behavior and egregious human rights violations -- that poses the greatest threat to peace," McCain said in a statement. "And until North Korea takes concrete steps to change that, no concessions should be made and the sanctions must continue."

The national emergency that Trump extended allows the government to forbid North Korean leaders from selling or otherwise using any assets they may hold in the United States. It is separate from U.S. sanctions related to North Korean human-rights abuses and from the long list of international penalties imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile testing.

Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said that all U.S. sanctions will remain in force for now. Some could be lifted as negotiations progress.

North Korean state media described a step-by-step diplomatic process and said Trump agreed to "lift sanctions" as relations improve.

A Section on 06/23/2018

Print Headline: Trump says N. Korea still a threat

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Comments

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  • TimberTopper
    June 23, 2018 at 5:23 a.m.

    He just told a week ago the threat was over.

  • BoudinMan
    June 23, 2018 at 7:41 a.m.

    Whaaat? Does this orange slob even know what day of the week it is?

  • DoubleBlind
    June 23, 2018 at 11:13 a.m.

    He had no choice but to walk back ridiculous post-‘summit’ proclamations. His very own Sec of Defense, Mad Dog Mattis, stated yesterday on the record there is zero indication that Kim is taking ANY steps to rid NK of nukes. Trump was played and Mattis made it official.

  • mrcharles
    June 23, 2018 at 3:58 p.m.

    WOW.

    Except for seeing two madmen smiling together we see nothing really was accomplished except trump being incompetent once again.

  • CDMAN451515
    June 23, 2018 at 4:53 p.m.

    Gmac. It’s all Obama’s fault that you fell for frump tale about all is safe. Where is Packman when gmac needs him?

  • BirdDogsRock
    June 23, 2018 at 8:26 p.m.

    Good god, man, can you possibly act any more foolish?

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