The DPRK foreign minister said the DPRK had offered “realistic proposals” but the US wanted more, and the two sides couldn’t reconcile their differences leading to what the US President called a “walk away” earlier in his press conference in Hanoi.
According to Ri, DPRK had attempted to get the US to lift five sanction articles adopted in 2016 and 2017 under 11 United Nations Security Council resolutions, which he said “hampered the civilian economy and the livelihoods of our people” in exchange for DPRK’s “completely and permanent dismantling all nuclear material production facilities in the Yongbyon area, including plutonium and uranium” under the supervision of experts from both countries.
He emphasised that the DPRK did not seek a complete removal of all sanctions, but only partial relief.
The diplomat said it was the biggest measure it could take at present given “the current level of confidence between the DPRK and the US.”
During the meeting, the DPRK pledged a complete halt of nuclear and missile testing, including rocket launches, to ease the concerns of the US, according to Ri.
Ri said that if the two sides could go through this “level of trust-building regime”, then “we would be able to accelerate the process of denuclearisation”.
However, he said the US side was insistent on DPRK moving “one more step” besides the shutting down of the Yongbyon plant, the country’s main nuclear facility.
“It became crystal clear that the US was not ready to go through with this proposal,” the DPRK top diplomat said.
The DPRK official said it would be difficult to come up with a better proposal than the one his country was putting on the table.
“Our principle stands and remains invariable and our proposal will never change in the future even if the US wants further talks,” he said.