President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un two days summit was cut short on Thursday as both the leaders couldn’t came to mutual agreement.
After the summit was over, North Korean officials held an news conference at a Hanoi hotel, offering an account about the failed talks that differed from Trump’s.
“What we proposed was not the removal of all sanctions but the partial removal,” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said through an interpreter in Hanoi. He said North Korea sought relief from five U.N. sanctions imposed in 2016 and 2017 that hurt the country’s economy, out of a total of 11, in exchange for disabling its main nuclear complex.
His remarks contradicted Trump’s statement that he cut the summit short because the North Koreans wanted sanctions to be lifted in their entirety, an offer he couldn’t accept.
“[We offered] to permanently and completely dismantle all nuclear material production facilities in Yongbyon, including plutonium and uranium, in the attendance of American experts and through joint operations of the two countries’ technicians, if the U.S. lifted a portion of U.N. sanctions, in other words, those disrupting the private economy and the people’s livelihoods,” the foreign minister said.
Given the current level of trust between North Korea and the United States, that was the largest denuclearization measure conceivable by the North, he added.
At the summit, the North Koreans also offered to put in writing a pledge to permanently halt their testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles “to ease U.S. concerns,” according to Ri.
But the United States insisted that the North take one more step beyond the dismantlement of the Yongbyon facility, a clear indication that it’s not ready for a deal he said.
A building of trust will help accelerate the North’s denuclearization and Pyongyang’s position won’t change even if the United States pushes for further talks, he added.