DPRK FM Ri Yong Ho disputes Trump reason for summit collapse

World Today

DPRK FM Ri Yong HoPHOTO: Reuters

In Hanoi, DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho presented a rare and unexpected midnight news conference following the Trump-Kim summit.

During the conference, Ri Yong Ho disputed Trump’s explanation for collapse of summit, saying the DPRK asked “for only partial U.S. sanctions relief.”

FM Ri’s Opening Statement at Hanoi Press Conference:

“During the two-day meetings the leaders of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and the United States of America held serious discussions with good patience and self-restraint. Based upon the principle of building trust and resolving issues in faced manner which was jointly acknowledged in the first Singapore DPRK-US summit, we offered a realistic proposal in this meeting.”

“If the United States removes partial sanctions, mainly remove the articles of sanctions that hamper the civilian economy and the livelihood of our people in particular, we will permanently and completely dismantle all the nuclear material-productive facilities in the Yongbyon area, including plutonium and uranium in the presence of US experts and by the joint work of technicians from both countries.”

Ri said DPRK had asked for lifting five of the 11 sanctions under United Nations Security Council resolutions. Those measures, he said, were particularly damaging the livelihood of the DPRK people.

Ri said Pyongyang’s position won’t change even if U.S. seeks further talks.

“Chairman Kim got the feeling that he didn’t understand the way Americans calculate” and may have “lost the will” for further negotiations.

The FM’s statements contradicted the explanation by Trump, who hours earlier told reporters that the North had demanded a full removal of sanctions in exchange for shuttering the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

Ri says the DPRK was also ready to offer in writing a permanent halt of the country’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and that Washington wasted an opportunity that “may not come again.”

According to Xinhua, DPRK leader Kim is scheduled to meet with top Vietnamese leaders on Friday and leave Saturday on his armored train for the return trip, through China, to DPRK.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Ri Kil Song, vice foreign minister of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), in Beijing on Thursday.

Additional reporting from Associated Press and Yonhap