North Korea disputes Trump reason for ending Kim Jong-un summit

by Kim Boateng Posted on February 28th, 2019

North Korea has contradicted US President Donald Trump over his explanation for the abrupt end of denuclearization talks with Kim Jong-un in Hanoi.

Mr Trump said he walked away from a nuclear deal with Kim Jong-un on Thursday over unacceptable demands from the North Korean leader to lift US-led sanctions.

“It was about the sanctions,” Mr Trump said at an afternoon news conference in Vietnam.

“Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, but we couldn’t do that,” he said.

“Sometimes you have to walk and this was one of those times.”

North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho on Friday morning refuted the President’s claims, saying a realistic proposal was made between Mr Kim and Mr Trump.

Mr Ri told a news conference that Pyongyang had offered to permanently dismantle all its nuclear material production including plutonium and uranium observed by US experts.

He added that North Korea only asked Washington to lift partial sanctions, not entirely, contradicting Mr Trump’s claim earlier.

Mr Ri said Pyongyang had also offered to permanently halt nuclear and long-range rocket testing.

The collapse of the much-vaunted Hanoi summit, which followed similar talks between Mr Trump and Mr Kim in Singapore last year, undermines the image Mr Trump has long cultivated of himself as a tough negotiator.

Before leaving Vietnam for the US on Thursday, Mr Trump said that Mr Kim had agreed to dismantle North Korea’s Yongbyon enrichment facility, but would only do so if all sanctions against the country were lifted.

He and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Pyongyang would have to dismantle other weapons systems before all sanctions were removed.

They added that the US and North Korea would continue negotiations in other settings and stressed that there were nuclear sites unknown to the public that the US was aware of.

Mr Ri said it could be difficult to arrange future bi-lateral talks with the US.

“Our principal stand will remain invariable and our proposals will never change, even if the United States proposes negotiations again in the future,” he said.

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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