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US Still Sees N Korea as 'Extraordinary Threat' Despite Thaw Between Trump, Kim

© REUTERS / KCNANorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - Sputnik International
The sudden change in Washington's rhetoric occurred despite Donald Trump's earlier assertions that Pyongyang no longer presents a nuclear threat.

US President Donald Trump's administration branded Pyongyang an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to Washington, explaining on Friday the necessity to prolong the national emergency with respect to North Korea.

"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," the notice to Congress reads.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, left, during a joint press statement on the results of the meeting held as part of the 3rd Eastern Economic Forum at the Far Eastern Federal University, Russky Island. September 6, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The US president made a decision to prolong anti-North Korea sanctions imposed a decade ago by President George W. Bush for one more year as part of his "maximum pressure" policy toward the country. Sanctions allow the US to prevent North Korean leaders from using any assets they may have in the United States. These restrictive measures are separate from those related to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and sanctions over the country's alleged human rights violations.

The administration's reverse from Trump's previous rhetoric came as a surprise, as only two days ago Trump stated that Pyongyang was pursuing a path of denuclearization and had "stopped everything we wanted them to stop," adding that he and Kim Jong-un had "great chemistry" during the summit in Singapore on June 12. The US president also ordered the cessation of military drills in South Korea in a move to mend relations with Pyongyang.

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The aforementioned meeting between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took place after lengthy negotiations and resulted into the signing of a historical agreement that stipulated Pyongyang's denuclearization in exchange for the US' freezing its military drills with South Korea and eventually lifting the sanctions imposed on North Korea.

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