Trump: Sanctions are having a 'big impact' on North Korea

Key Points
  • President Trump says sanctions are starting to have a "big impact" on the rogue regime in North Korea.
  • Trump's comments follow news of proposed talks between North and South Korea.
People watch a television news screen showing pictures of US President Donald Trump (C) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) at a railway station in Seoul on November 29, 2017.
Jung Yeon-Je | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that sanctions on North Korea are "beginning to have a big impact" following news of proposed talks between Pyongyang and South Korea.

"Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not — we will see!" Trump tweeted about the possible dialogue between the neighbors.

The United States and allies including South Korea and Japan have put increasing economic pressure on Kim Jong Un's rogue dictatorship amid its nuclear and missile development. North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test last year. In November, Pyongyang conducted the latest in a string of missile tests, and the device flew farther than any of its previous missiles.

In his New Year's Day address, Kim said "the entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, a nuclear button is always on my desk." Despite the threat, he floated the possibility of talks with South Korea when the country hosts the Winter Olympics next month.

Russian tankers supplied fuel to North Korea on at least 3 occasions -Reuters

On Tuesday, Seoul proposed holding talks with North Korea near their shared border next week.

Through sanctions, the United Nations has aimed to limit the supply of oil going to North Korea in an effort to curb its nuclear and missile programs. In recent days, South Korea has said it has seized two ships suspected of transferring oil to the regime in violation of sanctions.

Last week, Trump sent a warning to China following reports that Beijing allowed oil to go into North Korea. China has denied illegally providing oil.

Reuters separately reported that Russian tankers supplied oil to North Korea, though there is no evidence yet that the Russian state backed the shipments, according to the wire service.

It is unclear if the ships seized by South Korea are linked to the alleged Chinese and Russian transactions.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump seeks a "denuclearized peninsula" and is leaving all options on the table.