International

North Korea says it will not change stance

North Korea’s foreign minister says Pyongyang’s position will not change even if the US seeks further talks.

Ri Yong Ho was speaking after a summit in Vietnam between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without agreement.

Trump said the US had refused demands for all sanctions to be lifted.

But at a late-night news conference, Mr Ri insisted the North had only asked for partial sanctions relief, not a complete lifting.

He said his country had made “realistic” proposals including the complete decommissioning of the Yongbyon nuclear research centre, under the watch of US observers.

“This proposal was the biggest denuclearisation measure we could take at the present stage when taking into consideration the current level of confidence between the DPRK [North Korea] and the United States,” he said.

In return, Ri said, the North had wanted only partial lifting of sanctions “that hamper the civilian economy and the livelihood of our people”.

He said Pyongyang had also offered to permanently halt nuclear and long-range rocket testing. He added that it might be hard to see an opportunity such as the Hanoi summit again.

“Our principal stand will remain invariable and our proposals will never change, even if the United States proposes negotiations again in the future,” Ri told reporters. BBC