- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2019

Offering its first take on the failed summit with President Trump in Hanoi, a top North Korean official said Thursday that it made a “realistic” proposal to the U.S.

In a rare press conference, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told reporters that North Korea offered to permanently end testing of long-range nuclear rockets and did not demand — as Mr. Trump contended — an immediate end to all economic sanctions.

Despite having offered to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear testing site, one of the largest test sites in the country, and all nuclear material production facilities in front of U.S. experts, the foreign minister said the U.S. demanded one more measure they were not willing to fulfill.

North Korea sought partial sanctions relief including five U.N. sanctions related to “the civilian economy and the livelihood of [their] people” and did not seek a complete lift of existing sanctions, according to the foreign minister.

“It is difficult to say whether there might be better agreement than the one based on our proposal,” he said during the press conference.

Even if the U.S. decides to hold further talks, Mr. Ri said Pyongyang’s position will not change.

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