The Hanoitimes - Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho offered an account about the failed talks that are different from Trump’s comment.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho held a middle-of-the-night press conference in Hanoi on Thursday [February 28], addressing the reason why nuclear talks broke down.
Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho offered an account about the failed talks that are different from Trump’s, noting that his country would dismantle the facility if some US sanctions are first lifted.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho at press conference in Hanoi Thursday night. Photo: AP
“What we proposed was not the removal of all sanctions, but the partial removal,” the foreign minister said through an interpreter. He said North Korea sought relief from five UN sanctions out of a total of 11 in exchange for disabling its main nuclear complex.
Ri said in exchange for partial sanctions relief, North Korea was willing to “permanently and completely dismantle all the nuclear material production facilities in the Yongbyon area, including plutonium and uranium in the presence of U.S. experts.”
Meanwhile, Trump during a news conference in Thursday afternoon said North Korea “wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety” in return for dismantling Yongbyon. Trump said he walked away from his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because of the request.
Trump sought to emphasize his ongoing comity with Kim, saying the meeting was filled with “warmth”, but that he opted to leave with no deal rather than agree to a bad deal. Trump noted that Yongbyon is just one part of North Korea’s nuclear program and that “there’s plenty left after that.”
Because of North Korea’s nuclear weapons testing, the UN imposed sanctions in 2016 and 2017 that have hurt North Korea’s economy, hampering the civilian economy and the livelihood of the people.
Part of Yongbyon nuclear complex. Photo: Dw.com
Five UN Security Council sanctions that North Korea wanted to be removed and viewed as “partial sanctions relief”, the US would see these five as the heart of the sanctions regime against North Korea, according to Frank Aum, senior expert at U.S. Institute of Peace, former senior advisor for North Korea at the Defense Department in 2012-2017.