Our Position Remain Unchanged, North Korea Tells US

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North Korean Leader, Kim Jong Un

North Korea’s foreign minister says Pyongyang’s position will not change even if the US seeks further talks.

Ri Yong Ho was speaking after a summit in Vietnam between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without agreement.

He said they asked only for partial sanctions relief, not a total lifting.

But the Trump administration insists the North demanded a complete lifting of the measures, saying there was no clarity about what they had to offer.

After their talks broke down, Mr Trump said Mr Kim had offered to dismantle all of the Yongbyon complex, the research and production facility at the heart of North Korea’s nuclear programme, a significant proposal.

But in return Mr Kim wanted all sanctions lifted, something the US was not prepared to offer, Mr Trump added.

At a late-night news conference after the summit, Mr Ri said his country had made “realistic” proposals, including the complete decommissioning of Yongbyon, under the watch of US observers.

“This proposal was the biggest denuclearisation measure we could take at the present stage when taking into consideration the current level of confidence between the DPRK [North Korea] and the United States.”

In return, Mr Ri said, the North had wanted only partial lifting of sanctions “that hamper the civilian economy and the livelihood of our people”.

He told reporters Pyongyang had also offered to permanently halt nuclear and long-range rocket testing. He added that it might be hard to see an opportunity such as the Hanoi summit again.

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

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