North Korea Wanted Sanctions Lifted in Exchange for Nuclear Plant Closure

On Friday, North Korea said it had offered to dismantle its Yongbyon nuclear plant in exchange for partial sanctions relief at Kim Jong Un’s Summit with American President, Donald Trump, after the meeting ended without agreement.

At North Korean’s delegation hotel, in a late night statement, the foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said “Pyongyang had made a realistic proposal at the summit in Hanoi“.

The minister then denied all the assertions of Trump that Pyongyang had demanded the lifting of all sanctions imposed on it over its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs.

He further stated that if US releases partial sanctions those that hamper the civilian economy and livelihood of our people then we will permanently and completely dismantle all the nuclear production facilities in Yongbyon area.

The minister was reading the statement after the two day Trump-Kim talks closed with no final deal.

The American President said the US had denied all the sanctions to be lifted.

However at late night conference, the foreign minister insisted the North Korea has asked for only partial sanction relief rather than a complete lifting that hamper the civilian economy and the livelihood of our people and also that his country has made realistic proposals including the complete decommissioning of the Yongbyon nuclear research centre.

He said, “This proposal was the biggest denuclearization measure we could take at present stage when taking into consideration the current level of confidence between the Korea and the United States”. 

He also said to permanently halt nuclear and long range rocket testing of Pyongyang. He further added that it might be hard to see an opportunity like the Hanoi summit again.

Ri told to reporters that their principal stand will remain invariable and our proposals will never change, even if the US raises any negotiations in the future.

The words of American President Trump

The two leaders were expected to sign a joint agreement and to announce progress of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

But at news conference after the summit broke up, the US president said, “they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that”.

Trump further reassured the Japanese and South Korean counterparts that the discussion and talks with the North will continue.

The sticking points of the conference

According to Trump, Kim offered to dismantle all of the nuclear research and production facility at the heart of the Yongbyon complex and to return of which Kim wanted all of the sanctions to be lifted, the thing for which the US is not prepared to fulfill.

Moreover, there was a question for the network facilities extended beyond the Yongbyon. Last month, in pre-summit talks, the Pyongyang has committed to destroy nation’s plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities said Stephen Biegun, the US state department special representative for North Korea.

Trump also suggested in the news conference that Kim had only offered the destruction of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon area rather than North Korea’s entire nuclear apparatus.

While Yongbyon in North Korea’s only source of Plutonium, the country is believed to have at least two other uranium rich facilities and on this statement the North Korean delegation was surprised to which the US knew.

There is an uncertainty about the meaning of denuclearization to both sides; Washington has previously said that North Korea must give up all its nuclear weapons and destroy all of its nuclear facilities before any sanctions relief whereas Kim Jong views it as a mutual arrangement in which the US withdraws its military presence on the Korean Peninsula.

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