Trump says he wants to keep sanctions on North Korea

President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE said Thursday he wants to keep sanctions on North Korea while he works toward resuming nuclear talks with the country's leader, Kim Jong Un.

“We want sanctions to remain in place,” Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, adding he believes they are at a “fair” level.

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The U.S. has imposed economic penalties on North Korea in order to persuade Pyongyang to surrender its nuclear weapons, but Trump sparked confusion last month when he suggested wanting to roll back new sanctions on Chinese shipping firms accused of supplying the nation.

The sanctions were eventually kept in place. While Trump said he has the choice to “significantly” ramp up penalties, he explained Thursday that he "didn't want to do that because of my relationship with Kim Jong Un."

“As you know, a couple of weeks ago I held it back,” the president said. “And I really believe something very significant is going to happen.”

Moon was at the White House to meet with Trump for the first time since the U.S. president’s second nuclear summit with Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February, which failed to produce any denuclearization deal.

The South Korean leader has acted as an intermediary between North Korea and the Trump administration in hopes of brokering a sweeping nuclear and peace agreement.

Trump said that “a third summit could happen” but it might also include Moon, as opposed to his previous two one-on-one meetings with Kim.