Trump Extends State of National Emergency Against North Korea Threat

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This May 15 video image shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at what was reportedly a missile test site at an undisclosed location. (KRT via AP Video)
This May 15 video image shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at what was reportedly a missile test site at an undisclosed location. (KRT via AP Video)

President Donald Trump extended the state of national emergency against North Korea for an extra year Friday despite his recent statements that the threat to the U.S. posed by dictator Kim Jong Un's missiles and nuclear weapons was a thing of the past.

"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 executive order signed by Trump stated.

National emergencies regarding North Korea were previously declared by the Bush and Obama administrations.

The executive order contrasted with Trump's statements on a new era of peace and accord with North Korea following his Singapore summit meeting with Kim last week.

In a series of tweets following the summit, Trump said that denuclearization by North Korea was already underway and Americans could "sleep well tonight."

"Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office," he said. "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!"

In a following tweet, Trump said that before he had taken office, a war with North Korea was considered imminent.

"President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem," he tweeted. "No longer - sleep well tonight!"

Friday's executive order extended one signed by Trump in September 2017 to "address the provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies of the government of North Korea, including its intercontinental ballistic missile launches of July 3 and July 28, 2017, and its nuclear test of September 2, 2017."

The 2017 executive order also noted North Korea's "commission of serious human rights abuses, and its use of funds generated through international trade to support its nuclear and missile programs and weapons proliferation."

At a White House Cabinet meeting Thursday, Trump said that North Korea had already begun destroying missile sites in the process of denuclearization, although Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had said the day before that he had seen no evidence as yet of any dismantling of weapons by the North Koreans.

"They've stopped the sending of missiles, including ballistic missiles. They're destroying their engine site," Trump said. "They're blowing it up. They've already blown up one of their big test sites, in fact it's actually four of their big test sites. And the big thing is it will be a total denuclearization, which has already started taking place."

At the Pentagon Wednesday, Mattis was asked whether North Korea had begun dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Mattis said he was unaware of any steps by North Korea toward denuclearization, and he "wouldn't expect that at this point."

"Obviously, it's the very front end of a process. The detailed negotiations have not begun," Mattis said.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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