North Korea disputes Trump’s account of summit talks, says it made ‘a realistic proposal’
President Trump attends a Feb. 28 news conference following his second summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi.(Getty Images / Getty Images)
Artworks featuring President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are displayed at a gallery in Hanoi on Feb. 28.(Vincent Yu / Associated Press)
People in Pyongyang, North Korea, read a newspaper on Feb. 28 with coverage of Kim Jong Un’s visit to Hanoi for a summit with President Trump.(Kim Won Jin / AFP/Getty Images)
President Trump’s motorcade travels through Hanoi after his Feb. 28 meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.(Fazry Ismail / EPA/Shutterstock)
President Trump boards Air Force One on Feb. 28 after a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi.(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
President Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting Feb. 27 at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi.(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)
Crowds gather on the streets near the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi as they wait for President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.(Luong Thai Linh / EPA/Shutterstock)
A motorcade transporting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un makes its way to the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi.(Ye Aung Thu / AFP/Getty Images)
South Koreans in Seoul watch news reports on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s meeting with President Trump.(Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images)
North Koreans in Pyongyang read a copy of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showing coverage of leader Kim Jong Un arriving in Vietnam ahead of a Hanoi summit with Presiden Trump.(Kim Won Jin / AFP/Getty Images)
Vietnamese children wave flags before the arrival of President Trump at the presidential palace in Hanoi.(Getty Images)
President Trump and Vietnamese leader Nguyen Phu Trong pose for a photo after meeting at the presidential palace in Hanoi.(Luong Thai Linh / EPA/Shutterstock)
President Trump waves goodbye to his Vietnamese counterpart after their meeting at the presidential palace in Hanoi.(Luong Thai Linh / EPA/Shutterstock)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives at the Dong Dang railway station on his way to the second U.S.-North Korea summit.(Nhac Nguyen / AFP/Getty Images)
A bodyguard is reflected in the window of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s car as he arrives Feb. 26 in Vietnam for a summit with President Trump.
(Wallace Woon / EPA/Shutterstock)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s bodyguards surround his car as he leaves after visiting his country’s embassy in Hanoi.(Ye Aung Thu / AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi upon his arrival in Vietnam for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.(MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.(SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images)
A worker helps arrange American and Vietnamese flags before Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh arrive for a meeting Feb. 26 in Hanoi(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)
Vietnamese security personnel stand guard outside the North Korean embassy in Hanoi, ahead of the second U.S.-North Korean summit.(Ye Aung Thu / AFP/Getty Images)
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh meet at the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi, Vietnam.(Pool Photo )
Less than 12 hours after the second summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un abruptly fell apart, a North Korean official disputed Trump’s account of the talks, saying the nation had made “a realistic proposal.”
Kim offered to make a written commitment to no longer test long-range missiles and to allow inspections at the country’s main Yongbyon nuclear complex, foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said in a rare news conference, held after midnight in Hanoi, Vietnam, the site of the summit.
Reading from a prepared statement, Ri said the U.S., in walking away from the summit, had given up on an opportunity for the best deal North Korea was willing to offer at this stage. He did not mention Trump by name.
“This proposal was the biggest denuclearization measure we can take at the present stage in relation to the current level of confidence between the DPRK and the United States,” Ri said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Ri contradicted Trump’s account that North Korea had demanded sanctions against the country be lifted in their entirety, saying Kim had only asked that sanctions that “hamper the civilian economy and the livelihood of our people” be removed.
Ri said the sanctions Kim had asked the U.S. to lift were the five imposed in 2016 and 2017, of a total 11 in place — the harshest of the sanctions that were enacted after a series of nuclear tests.
In a press conference after talks with Kim were cut short and a signing ceremony and luncheon were scrapped, Trump told reporters he had to “walk away” from a potential deal because North Korea wanted to give up too little in return for more than the U.S. was willing to give.
Trump said North Korea needed to give up secret nuclear facilities in addition to Yongbyon, which the nation has agreed to dismantle in past rounds of negotiations with the United States. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also noted that shuttering Yongbyon would still leave intact most of North Korea’s missile, warheads and weapons systems.
Trump spoke before hundreds of reporters in a hotel ballroom, atop a stage decked out with the American flag and a logo for the “Hanoi Summit.” Ri’s unscheduled late-night press conference appeared almost spontaneously put together in response to Trump’s remarks, and was held impromptu at the lobby of the hotel where Kim is staying.
Trump said the relationship remained positive and called the talks productive, leaving open the possibility of future talks without committing to a third summit.
Ri, though, said even if the U.S. and North Korea were to continue negotiations, Kim Jong Un’s position would remain the same.
“Our proposal will never be changed,” he said.
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