February 28, 2019 | 10:55 am PT

North Korea says ‘realistic’ deal was rejected

North Korea says ‘realistic’ deal was rejected
North Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho speaks at a press conference in Hanoi after midnight on Friday. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

The U.S. failed to accept the best deal placed on negotiation table, says North Korea, giving details.

At an unannounced press conference just after midnight on Friday, North Korea explained why no agreement was reached at the second Trump-Kim summit.

North Korea Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho said Pyongyang has brought a ‘realistic proposal’ to the second summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump, in which North Korea only pursued the removal of parts of existing sanctions, not all of them.

North Korea was suffering from 11 sanctions, and had only asked the U.S. to remove five, said Ri.

Ri's statement is contrary to Trump's made at a news conference following the summit. Trump said Kim Yong-un "wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that."

Ri added that Pyongyang would give up on all production of nuclear materials, including plutonium and uranium, and would let U.S. experts inspect the process, if the U.S. agrees to remove parts of the sanctions that have affected the North Korean economy and the lives of its people.

He said that the U.S., in turn, asked North Korea to take an extra step besides dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear complex, which indicated that it was not accepting the North Korean offer.

There was no better offer than the one North Korea had proposed, given that it was North Korea that had taken the first steps towards denuclearization, Ri added. North Korea regrets the hard-earned, yet missed opportunity, he said.

North Korea would not change its proposal should the U.S. decide to open another discussion in the future, Ri insisted.

The second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi Thursday ended without any agreement signed because of disagreements regarding the sanctions that have been imposed on North Korea.

However, Trump also affirmed that the relationship between him and Kim Jong-un was still ‘warm.’ Discussions with Kim Jong-un had taken place in a friendly atmosphere and no one left in anger, he’d added.