Tag Archives: United States

PRESS RELEASE: Nearly Half of U.S. States Don’t Protect Girls from Female Genital Mutilation

***NEWS RELEASE***

For Immediate Release
December 11, 2018

CONTACT:

Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Patrick Benner, ext. 104

Nearly Half of U.S. States Don’t Protect Girls from Female Genital Mutilation

Perpetrators in 23 States Across America Have a Free Pass to Inflict This Unnecessary and Barbaric Procedure on Girls as Young as 7 Years Old

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Now that a district judge has declared a federal ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) unconstitutional, perpetrators in 23 states across America have a free pass to inflict this barbaric procedure on girls as young as 7 years old.

That must stop, says internationally renowned attorney and activist specializing in human rights and child welfare advocacy Elizabeth Yore, who heads the national EndFGMToday campaign. Yore has written a new opinion piece for The Daily Caller, where she makes an urgent call to these 23 states to enact their own tough FGM laws.

“Before District Judge Bernard Friedman’s ruling, FGM had been a federal crime in the United States since 1996,” Yore noted. “Additionally, 27 states have also committed to protecting girls by enacting their own laws against the terrible procedure that leaves physical and emotional scars for a lifetime. Yet tragically, girls in 23 states across the country remain at risk because FGM is a growing criminal activity in the United States, and the 23 states that have yet to enact their own anti-FGM laws need to do so quickly—hopefully in 2019.

“Otherwise,” Yore added, “these remaining states are now safe harbors for mutilators. This judicial ruling will embolden others to engage in this horrific form of abuse of women and girls in America.”

Every state should stand with more than 513,000 women and girls across America who the Centers for Disease Control estimates are at risk for FGM by making it a crime and a reportable child abuse offense.

“FGM perpetrators operate in the shadows inflicting children of unimaginable abuse, maiming them for life and robbing them of future sexual pleasure,” Yore wrote. “Like human trafficking, FGM conducts its barbaric activity in secret among covert underground networks, enforcing silence among its victims.”

Yore also noted that female genital mutilation is recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women. Over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel and barbaric practice.

View the at EndFGMToday.com state-by-state map of those who do have anti-FGM laws and learn more about FGM at www.EndFGMToday.com or on social media at #EndFGMToday.

###

To interview Elizabeth Yore of #EndFGMToday, contact Deborah Hamilton, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Patrick Benner, ext. 104.

Trade war: US can start to reverse China’s ‘debt-trap diplomacy’

The real Chinese trade war isn’t about tariffs. It’s about freedom to navigate trade routes on the high seas.

Trump didn’t say it at last week’s G20 summit, but he understands the problem. “China seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favor,” Trump said in his National Security Strategy, released a year ago. “Contrary to our hopes, China expanded its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others.”

So what can he do about it? Viewing Chinese power projection in traditional military terms misses the point. Beijing subverts other countries with money and influence, eroding their national sovereignty.

In a strategy called “debt-trap diplomacy,” China finances huge, unviable infrastructure projects in poor countries, charging high-interest loans. When the loans can’t be repaid, China seizes the physical infrastructure, at the expense of the debtor country’s sovereignty.

The US military calls this “weaponizing capital.” It’s happening from South Asia to the Caribbean. China recently seized the deep water port it built in Sri Lanka, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer told a congressional panel last spring. “They’re doing that around the globe.”

In Panama, China dominates the newly expanded Panama Canal. In Nicaragua, China is funding an even wider canal to compete with Panama. In El Salvador, China is taking over a Japanese-built port for a “dry canal” to truck containerized cargo overland via Honduras to the Atlantic.

“We are concerned that it is not only an investment in a port, but that they will then want to do something with their military and expand Chinese influence in the region,” US Ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes said in August. “Other countries, such as Sri Lanka, no longer control their ports” after the Chinese took over, she said.

We don’t hear much about Sri Lanka, but it’s important: The country’s new deep water port for megaships sits seven miles from one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

China, Trump said in his national security strategy, is “patient and content to accrue strategic gains over time – making it harder for the United States and our allies to respond,” Trump said. “Such actions are calculated to achieve maximum effect without provoking a direct military response from the United States. And as these incremental gains are realized, over time, a new status quo emerges.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. The US can reverse its failure to counter Chinese imperialism. After losing its deep water port, Sri Lanka is now in a constitutional crisis. Its government is immobile. Its president, who negotiated the port construction deal with China, fired his rival, the prime minister who signed away Sri Lanka’s sovereign rights for lack of ability to pay. But the fired prime minister refuses to leave office, and his replacement cannot be seated. The country is becoming ungovernable as more Sri Lankans seethe at Chinese control.

Trump can use this opportunity quickly and cheaply to hand China what could become the first of a string maritime defeats from fed-up debt-trap countries. He should encourage Sri Lankans to take back their sovereignty. All he needs to do is urge Sri Lanka to break the political stalemate by holding a referendum for the people to decide whether their president can dissolve parliament and hold new elections.

No playing favoritism with factions or meddling in internal affairs. Simply empowerment of the people. After the referendum and elections, the US will be well-placed to work with the victors to help unravel China’s subversive, corrupt theft of poor countries’ sovereignty.

J. Michael Waller is a vice president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC.

How the world’s 10 largest economies have evolved since 1961, in one chart

Visualization shows U.S. economic dominance, but the decades-long race for No. 2 is interesting

The fact that the U.S. economy has long been the world’s largest is not new. Nor is China’s rapid ascent to the world’s second-largest economy.

But an animated graphic making its way around the internet gives new perspective to how the world’s 10 largest economies, measured by GDP, have developed over the past six decades.

The graphic, seen in this tweet from Madrid-based fund manager Jaime Albella, shows the dominance of the U.S. economy since 1961, and also the horse race among other countries for the runner-up spot.

In the early 1960s, aside from the U.S., the list is topped largely by Western European economies, along with Japan and China. The U.S. already has a sizeable lead, since it was pretty much the only major economy that did not have to rebuild after World War II. The U.K. and France trade the No. 2 spot until 1968, when Japan vaults above them, evidence of its post-war “economic miracle.” Germany comes out of nowhere to suddenly take the No. 2 spot in 1971. (And why did it come out of nowhere? Because West Germany did not report GDP data to the World Bank, which the graphic is based on, until 1970.)

Japan retakes the lead in 1973, and after going head-to-head with Germany for a few years, sharply pulls away from the pack in the 1980s, and its surging economy challenges the U.S. into the 1990s.

And where’s China during all this? It keeps slipping in the rankings until dropping out entirely by 1978, popping back up for a few years in the 1980s then falling off again in 1987.

China re-emerges onto the scene in 1993, after massive economic reforms had taken hold, and stays there, steadily passing each and every country ahead of it — except for the U.S. In 2010, it overtakes Japan for the No. 2 spot, and then pulls away as the Chinese economy boomed while Japan’s contracted. As of 2017, the U.S. still holds a wide lead over China, which itself has an even wider lead over third-place Japan.

Also of note: Watching the bottom of the list is almost as interesting, showing the rise of emerging markets as countries such as India and Brazil move up the ranks, overtaking countries such as Italy, Canada and Spain.

Israel Bombs Gaza Strip in Retaliation for Rocket Attack

This week, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has again launched airstrikes against targets in the Gaza strip in retaliation for a militant-launched rocket attack that struck a house in the southern Israeli city of Bersheeba. The residents, a woman and her three children, were treated for shock but were unharmed by the attack which left their house in ruins. In response, Israeli fighter jets struck 20 targets in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of at least one militant. The air raids also destroyed a terror tunnel, used to smuggle fighters and arms into Israel; a training camp; tunneling sites and equipment; and caches of weapons parts.

The Israel government blamed Hamas for the attack and accused them of attempting to scuttle the ongoing peace talks for a long-term ceasefire that is being mediated by an Egyptian delegation. Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus described the type of rocket used as a, “…midrange, locally produced rocket possessed only by two groups in Gaza: Hamas and Islamic Jihad”. However, Hamas has vehemently denied responsibility and, in a rare move, distanced itself from the attack stating that, “We reject all irresponsible attempts that try to change the direction and sabotage the Egyptian efforts, including the overnight firing of the rocket”. Egyptian mediators now face the difficult task of trying to keep a dialogue open between both sides.

The road to peace between Israel and Palestine remains rocky. The two countries have fought three separate wars in the past 10 years, and the cycle of violence generated by terrorist rockets and the inevitable Israeli military response has caused devastation and death for civilians on both sides. The latest came in 2014 when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in an attempt to weaken Hamas’ infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. The week-long war ended the lives of 66 Israelis and 2,100 Palestinians.

US interests are greatly threatened by violence in the Middle East, especially between Israeli and Palestine. Criticism of Israel’s counterterrorism methods by biased organizations such as the UN Human Rights Council has increased the chances of violence against a key ally and one of the only true democracies in the Middle East. The US role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has mostly been one of a mediator. Beginning in 1979 with President Jimmy Carter’s instrumental role in the Camp David Accords, the US has carefully worked with both sides over the years to bring about a stable and long-lasting
peace. To make sure both sides remain committed to this process, the US must keep an open dialogue between the leadership of both states in order to minimize violence and encourage engagement with international mediators.

United States Withdraws from 1955 Iranian-US Amity Treaty

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the United States will withdraw from the 1955 US- Iranian Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights’. Following up on a complaint filed by Iran that the sanctions were in violation of the Amity Treaty, the UN’s International Court of Justice ruled that the US must lift several sanctions on Iran in areas such as medicine, medical devices, food and agricultural commodities and civil aviation equipment. In response, the US withdrew from the treaty, disputing the court’s ruling based on the poor state of relations between Washington and Tehran. Citing Iran’s past behavior, the US stood on the position that giving any aid to a regime advancing an illegal nuclear weapons program, that also has an abysmal track record of human rights, undermines US international credibility. Secretary Pompeo reiterated this notion by stating that, “Today marked a useful point with the decision that was made this morning from the ICJ. This marked a useful point for us to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of the Treaty of Amity between the United States and the Islamic Republic.”

Signed with Iran pre-revolution under the rule of the close US ally Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the 1955 treaty was part of a larger US effort to gather allies against the Soviet Union in the early days of the Cold War. The treaty affirmed a bond of friendship between the two nations, granted legal protection to diplomats, and greatly expanded trade by granting massive concessions to foreign businesses. However, the 1979 revolution ushered in the Islamist theocratic rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and, angered by the close US relationship to the Shah, US-Iranian relations regressed significantly. Tensions peaked after the takeover of the US embassy and Khomeini’s subsequent refusal to release seized American hostages seized for 444 days. Tensions have continued to remain high since Khomeini’s death in 1989. In the contemporary day, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, it’s belligerence in both rhetoric and action towards Israel, and it’s material and financial support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, all inform the US to view Iran as a destabilizing influence in the Middle East.

Further motivating factors for US actions could be the recent attacks on US consular facilities in Iraq. Rocket attacks near the US consulate in Basra in southern Iraq, and a mortar attack near the US embassy in Baghdad have forced the evacuation of diplomats and consular officials. Secretary Pompeo announced the US had verifiable intelligence that the attacks were perpetrated by Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups, specifically the Islamic Revolutionary Quds Force led by Qassem Suleimani: “Our intelligence in this regard is solid. We can see the hand of the ayatollah and his henchmen supporting these attacks on the United States”.

Any relief or negotiation of economic sanctions must be predicated by significant Iranian political reforms. Iran’s ongoing behavior is a threat not just to the United States, but to the Middle East as a whole. If any progress is to be made regarding the lifting sanctions and bringing Iran into the international economic community, Iran must first demonstrate its willingness to contribute to regional stability in the Middle East.

US-Chinese Naval Confrontation Raises Stake in South China Sea

A disaster was narrowly averted in the South China Sea after a Chinese warship nearly collided with an American destroyer. The USS Decatur, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, was conducting a “freedom of navigation” patrol when it was approached by a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Luyang-class warship. The encounter took place near the Gaven Reefs area of the  hotly contested Spratly archipelago. US Pacific Fleet Spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman noted that the Chinese ship, “Conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for Decatur to depart the area”, coming as close as 45 meters, and forcing the Decatur to change course in order to avoid a collision. Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Wu Qian characterized the incident as a routine procedure to defend an area they consider to be Chinese territory: “The Chinese vessel took quick action and made checks against the U.S. vessel in accordance with the law, and warned it to leave the waters”.

The contested area, known as the Spratly Islands, is a group of over 100 reefs and small islands off of the coast of Vietnam. Historically unclaimed, rich fishing waters and potential oil and natural gas deposits have turned this area into desirable territory for many Asian countries. China has claimed the whole series of islands, claiming historic rights, but its assertions have been disputed by several other nations including Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Malaysia. However, a 2016  arbitration panel under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea dealt a major blow to the Chinese claim, ruling in favor of a Filipino appeal which stated that China had no legal basis for occupation of the islands. Despite the Hague’s ruling, China has continued to be quite aggressive in its buildup, establishing air strips, military bases, and missile systems, much to chagrin of the United States and other nations in the region.

This latest incident has increased the tension in an already strained relationship between the United States and China. The ongoing trade war between the nations has raised tensions considerably as is evidenced by Beijing’s reaction to the $200 billion worth of tarrifs placed on Chinese manufactured goods in September. China’s continued military expansion into the South China Sea has the US concerned about Chinese intentions there, especially with regard to its smaller and weaker neighbors, a notion resulting in increased US naval patrols in the area. China has condemned US involvement in the South China Sea as foreign interference in a regional dispute. Indicative of the current situation, China recently cancelled an annual security meeting with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

With US-Chinese relations strained, tensions over the Spratly’s will continue to exacerbate tensions across the entire region. Increased communication and discussion between both nations, and a decrease in provocative actions by the Chinese would be a step in the right direction.

Arms Trafficking on the Rise in Djibouti

Attention was brought this week to the growing issue of arms trafficking in the East African nation of Djibouti, which has seen a spike in recent years. Driving the problem is the instability and ongoing conflict in neighboring countries such as Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan. The negative attention comes as Djibouti is trying to establish itself as a developed and economic upstart nation.

Major reasons attributed to the growth of transnational criminal activities like these in Djibouti include widespread incidence of corruption and a lack of transparency in government. The nation’s secret police, for example, are known to allow the smuggling of humans across boarders for a payment of 100 Djiboutian francs (.60 USD). By allowing illicit activities such as human and arms trafficking to go unchecked, Djibouti could see the onset of instability and a negative impact on its national security.

Djibouti’s lack of internal conflicts, its surge of economic investments and its resulting economic growth, have all led to increased stability not present in its neighboring countries.  Driving these positive developments are its access to both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, resulting in its labeling by some as the “most valuable real estate” in the world.

Another major component of Djibouti’s growth has been the military presence of several major world powers within its border such as the United States, France, China, and Japan. France was the first power to establish a military base there as the former colonial power in the region, although budget constraints will require them to close this in the near future. The United States has a strong military presence in Djibouti as the central location of its African-based operations known as AFRICOM. The only foreign bases of both China and Japan are in Djibouti, and India is looking to build a base there in the coming years. The main interest of these countries in Djibouti is the country’s strategic positioning near the Bab-el-Mandeb strait and the Horn of Africa.

There is, however, concern over tension between some of the previously mentioned countries that could create future instability within the small, East African nation. China has a long history of political and military conflict with Japan and India, and it is also currently locked in a trade war with the United States and is a rising challenge to global US hegemony. China has the largest presence in Djibouti, given its large development and business presence, and owns a significant amount of the nation’s debt. To this point, the United States sought reassurance earlier this year by the Djiboutian Foreign Ministry that Djibouti’s relationship to China would not overshadowed their agreement with the United States. Despite these assurances, concern over China’s heavy presence in Djibouti, and its ability to remain a neutral partner, continues to increase.

As Djibouti’s economy and international profile continue to grow, interest in the strategically located African nation will continue to increase from world powers and transnational criminals alike who look to profit from the country’s exponential rise.

Army Requests Funding to Keep up With Russia & China

The U.S. Army has requested that Congress shift close to $378 million from the 2018 fiscal budget to pay for modernization efforts. Among these modernization efforts include programs designed to improve air and missile defense systems, the Army’s long range firing capability, and electronic warfare. This request comes after the U.S. Marine Corps’ top budget officer, Major General John Jansen, went on the record to say that the United States was not prepared to meet the challenge of our most significant strategic competitors.

The U.S. military suffered nearly a decade of atrophy under the Obama administration. Incorrect assessments of the worldwide geopolitical scene led his administration to cap spending and force the military to make difficult decisions regarding which programs to fund and which programs to cut, ultimately leaving the U.S. vulnerable to nations like China and Russia. The most debilitated of the U.S. military branches is the Army. Drained of funds from the war on terror, and little left for modernization efforts, the Army has not been able to keep pace with other aforementioned great powers.

Russia has taken the opportunity to catch up and surpass America’s capabilities in several areas. They have designed a new main battle tank, the T-14, which includes an auto-loader, automated gun turrets, and active defense capabilities. Russia has also claimed to have developed new hypersonic missile systems that can thwart America’s defense systems. The S-400 surface to air missile system also poses a threat to American cruise missiles and warplanes. More astonishingly, Russia claims they have a new camouflage system for troops and tanks that can change colors to match the surrounding environment.

In the past ten years, Russia has invaded two of its neighbors and is currently to trying derail U.S. efforts in the Middle East with the deployment of modernized technology, including the advanced S-400 missile system in Syria. This missile system is being used to prevent the United States from controlling the skies and aiding allied forces in the fight against ISIS.

China is also taking great strides to bolster their military. Advancements in stealth technology, like the new J-20, and anti-satellite missiles both pose a threat to U.S. air and space power. China has also engaged in the construction of artificial islands as a measure to increase strategic control over the South China Sea which is a significant concern for U.S. interests in the region. Furthermore, they have deployed missiles and the new J-20 Stealth Fighter to these islands.

China intends to redefine the region as an air defense identification zone (ADIZ), meaning anyone that wishes to sail or fly through the zone would have to deal with Chinese security measures first. With these islands, missiles, and planes, China now has the power to enforce such a plan. While they have made veiled threats to the U.S. in the past for defying such a zone, their actions spoke louder than words when they recently relocated nuclear capable bombers to the islands from bases in the mainland.

It would be unwise for the United States to not give its military the funding it needs to properly address the imminent challenges posed by great powers. With proper funding, the U.S. will be able to fix the current modernization issues within its military. These expenses are necessary to defend freedom for Americans and U.S. allies.

Germany-Wisconsin Terror Plot

On Wednesday June 13th in Cologne Germany, German officials arrested Sief Allah H. connection for procuring materials needed to create the toxin ricin and launch a deadly attack.

During a search of the suspect’s apartment investigators found over 900 castor bean seeds, the shell of which contains ingredients used to create ricin. Investigators said Sief was working on a “biological weapon” attack in Germany, but do not know yet the extent of the planned attack or what the target may have been.

Prosecutors allege that Sief made the toxin this month in his apartment. Bomb-making materials and chemicals used in the production of ricin were also found.

The suspect has not been identified as a member of any known terrorist organization but did have contacts with potential Jihadists over the internet. German officials did not confirm the report that United States intelligence officials tipped off German investigators about Sief’s possible actions.

The arrest in Germany came the same day a Wisconsin woman was arrested for providing material support to Islamic State. Waheba Issa Dais attempted to recruit individuals to carry out attacks for the Islamic State. The FBI tracked her activities on her computer to her home in Cudahy, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.

The criminal complaint alleges that Dais provided services, personnel, advice and assistance to ISIS. Dias maintained a virtual library of instructions on how to make different explosive devices, including biological weapons.

One of the provided instructions on her website was how to make Ricin and suggested how the individuals that make it go about using it against targets. Dais used multiple social media platforms to carry out her work, hacking into social media accounts, changing pictures and information, and then using these accounts to contact other Islamic State supporters.

These arrests come two months after the foiling an alleged terror plot in France where French authorities in May arrested Mohamed M; a 20-year-old college student from Egypt for “preparing to commit an attack with explosive or ricin”. Mohamed ran an active account in the pro-jihad sphere, this is the second ricin related terror plot to take place within in Europe in the past 3 months.

Neither government confirmed that online library and postings by Waheba Issa Dais were seen by Sief Allah in Germany, still it may be reasonable suspect a possible connection between the foiled ricin plot in Germany and Dais’s blog detailing the ricin making process.  Reports state U.S. intelligence officials tipped of German authorities that Sief was looking at jihadist propaganda.

This cooperation between the German and American intelligence agencies shows the importance of sharing information about potential international terrorist attacks, before attacks can take place. This is becoming more and important with the increase in internet based terror plots and attacks.

North Korean Summit

On Tuesday June 12th, 2018 President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un both met in a historic summit between the two nations. President Trump and Kim Jong Un met around 9 a.m. Tuesday Morning, which was 9pm Monday in Washington.

President Trump and Kim Jong Un signed agreements laying out activities that both sides are going to be partaking in within the coming months. President Trump announced that the United States would freeze upcoming war games with South Korea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not specify what security assurances would be granted to the North Koreans, but did say that they would not go further then what was agreed to in 2005. The 2005 nuclear deal was issued by negotiators from the United States, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea. The statement said that the North would allow inspectors to enter the country and they would stop all production and testing of nuclear bombs.

The White House released the text of a joint statement following the meeting. The joint statement detailed four different points that the two nations acknowledged to work towards, including establishing new relations, discussing the establishment of a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and the complete denuclearization of the Peninsula. The fourth and final point was to commit to recovering POW/MIA U.S. service members lost during the Korean War.

The president’s decision to meet with the North Korean President comes at a time of heightened security and alertness within the region.  Just this last year  North Korea conducted numerous ballistic missile tests while the president and Kim Jong Un traded barbs. This meeting comes in the wake of the North Koreans and South Koreans joining together for the Olympic games and also following the meeting of both South Koreans president Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un of North Korea. During the joint Koreas meeting they signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula. There were also potential talks about formally ending the Korean War.

Following President Trump and Kim Jong Un’s historical meeting, many unanswered questions remain. The looming question is where or not Kim Jong Un will follow through with denuclearization, as well as questions about how the U.S. will verify such measures.

Follow up negotiations are supposed to take place with Secretary of State  Mike Pompeo and a high level North Korean official, at the earliest possible date between the two countries. It’s likely that these meetings will begin to lay the groundwork for an actual agreement, and where sharp disagreements between the two sides are most likely to arise.

The United States has hit North Korea with multiple different sanctions over the years to try and attempt a meeting with them. The most recent sanctions were put on by Executive Order 13810. Which states that no property may be transferred to North Korea including but not limited to; construction, fishing, energy, medial, mining, manufacturing, or transportation. Further more the order stated that making any type of contribution would be blocked by the government. These sanctions made it so no one in the United States could do any type of business with the county of North Korea.  By issuing strong sanctions it was one tool that was used to bring Kim Jong Un to the talks in Singapore.

China did state that sanctions relief could be considered for North Korea, following the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. China was one a country that did sign on to the United Nations sanctions against the north. China did state that sanctions can be changed given changes in politics.

It seems at this point that the United States will not be relieving sanctions against the North Koreans while the talks are ongoing. The US does not want to lose the leverage it currently has over the regime.

President Trump and Kim Jong Un both expressed optimism at the conclusion of the summit, with Trump thanking Kim Jong Un for taking first steps to help bring about a denuclearized Korean peninsula.