Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
President Donald Trump waits to greet Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak at the White House in Washington, September 12, 2017.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday played down the importance of tough new sanctions against North Korea approved by the U.N. Security Council, calling them “not a big deal,” and “nothing compared to ultimately what will have to happen.”
Appearing at the White House with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Trump praised the Asian country for refusing to trade with North Korea but said it was difficult to know if the new sanctions would have any impact on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s weapons tests.
“We think it’s just another very small step – not a big deal,” Trump said, adding that he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “were just discussing not knowing if it has any impact. But it’s nice to get a 15-to-nothing vote” from the Security Council in favor of the sanctions.
Still, Trump said, “Those sanctions are nothing compared to ultimately what will have to happen.” The president did not elaborate.
The sanctions, approved Monday, effectively ban 90 percent of North Korea’s publicly reported exports and limit the amount of oil the country is permitted to import. They will also gradually end North Korea’s labor export program, which sends nearly 100,000 North Koreans abroad every year.