North Korea on Friday said Pyongyang insisted only on a partial lifting of sanctions, directly contradicting what U.S. President Donald Trump said of his summit with Kin Jong-un.
“What we have asked for was partial lifting of sanctions, not in their entirety,” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said at a rare midnight news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, according to the Japan’s Kyodo news agency. “In detail, we asked to lift five sanctions that were imposed within 2016 and 2017 out of a total of 11 UN sanctions and which affect ordinary people's livelihoods.”
Ri told the media it was conveyed to the U.S. that Pyongyang would “eternally dismantle the country's main Yongbyon nuclear complex if the sanctions were partially lifted, while proposing to Washington a written pledge that it would end nuclear and ballistic missile tests.”
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said Kim “seems to have lost motivation to negotiate with the United States.”
But the North’s Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim and Trump had a “constructive and candid exchange of their opinions over the practical issues.”
Trump and Kim unexpectedly cut short their summit Thursday with the American president saying he could not agree to the North’s request for a complete lifting of sanctions.
“It was about sanctions. Kim wanted sanctions to be lifted in entirety, we could not do that. [But] we have not given up,” Trump said as he reiterated he shares a “very good relationship with Kim”, and said the North Korean leader “promised him on first day of summit that there would no testing of rockets, missiles of whatever nuclear.”