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Washington frustrated, confused by Trump tweet reversing new North Korea sanctions
The last week has seen a classic Trump-vs.-bureaucracy-vs.-media situation. It perfectly illustrates the level of structural and communication dysfunction that prevails in the Washington, D.C. environment in 2019. It illustrates that this is not “Trump’s fault,” unless you interpret every decision by Trump to not to be handcuffed by Washington convention as a cardinal sin on his part. And it illustrates that he can derive benefit from the dysfunction, even as others flail.
The situation involves a new set of sanctions announced by the Treasury Department last Thursday, 21 March. The new measures target two Chinese shipping companies known to be enabling North Korea to import goods in violation of existing sanctions.
The new measures also update a 2018 shipping advisory with a list of ships involved in illicit at-sea transfers of prohibited cargo for North Korea, along with updated information on where the transfers are taking place and where the ships have been known to call before or after they transport such cargo.