TRUMP AND KIM JONG-UN COULD NOT SEAL THE DEAL.
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.
Mr Trump said the US had refused demands for all sanctions to be lifted.
But at a late-night news conference, Mr Ri insisted the North had only asked for partial sanction’s relief, not a complete lifting.
He said his country had made “realistic” proposals including the complete decommissioning of the Yongbyon nuclear research centre, 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,” he said.
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 said 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,” Mr Ri told reporters
The two leaders had been expected to announce progress on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and to sign a joint agreement.
But at a news conference after the summit broke up, Mr Trump said: “It was all about the sanctions. They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that.
“Sometimes you have to walk and this was one of those times.
President Trump later reassured his Japanese and South Korean counterparts that talks with the North would continue.
On the flight back to the US he spoke for about 15 minutes each with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
On the same flight, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was hopeful that officials from both sides could resume talks before too long.
“My sense is it’ll take a little while. We’ll each need to regroup a little bit,” he said.