February 28, 2019 / 5:13 PM / 4 months ago

North Korea offered proposal but U.S. asked for more at summit: foreign minister

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho speaks at a news conference following the end of a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 1, 2019. Yonhap via REUTERS

HANOI (Reuters) - North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said North Korea made realistic proposals at a summit with the United States, including dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear complex in return for a partial lifting of sanctions.

The United States demanded one more measure beyond dismantling Yongbyon, Ri said at a news conference on Thursday.

He said if the United States partially removed sanctions, North Korea could permanently dismantle all nuclear material production, including plutonium and uranium under U.S. observation.

Ri told reporters that Pyongyang was seeking partial sanctions relief, not a complete lifting of sanctions. U.S. President Donald Trump said he walked away from the summit because of unacceptable demands from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to lift U.S.-led sanctions.

Ri said if the two sides went through several levels of trust-building steps, Pyongyang would be willing to move forward with denuclearization.

In addition to offering to dismantle Yongbyon, North Korea offered to permanently halt nuclear tests, Ri told the news conference.

Trump said two days of talks in the Vietnamese capital had made good progress in building relations and on the main issue of denuclearization, but it was important not to rush into a bad deal.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Makini Brice, David Alexander; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Grant McCool

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