North Korea disputes Trump's account of summit breakdown

Pompeo says nuclear negotiations with North Korea will resume quickly.
Image: 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
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

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By Associated Press

HANOI, Vietnam — North Korea is disputing President Donald Trump's account of why the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed.

North Korea's foreign minister said that the North demanded only partial sanctions relief in exchange for shuttering its main nuclear complex, and that the discussions collapsed after the U.S. demanded further disarmament steps.

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Ri Yong Ho's comments during an abruptly scheduled news conference in Hanoi on Friday contradicted the explanation by Trump, who hours earlier had told reporters that the North had demanded a full removal of sanctions in exchange for shuttering the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

Ri says the North was also ready to offer in writing a permanent halt of the country's nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and that Washington wasted an opportunity that "may not come again."

He says the North's position wouldn't change even if the United States offers to resume another round of dialogue.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says nuclear negotiations with North Korea will resume quickly.

Pompeo told reporters aboard his plane Thursday that his team will get back to work "tomorrow" although no new meetings have yet been scheduled.

Pompeo said progress was made between Trump and Kim at their talks in Hanoi but not enough to warrant signing any kind of agreement. The White House had scheduled a signing ceremony but abruptly canceled it along with a lunch when it became clear an agreement could not be reached.

Pompeo spoke as he flew to Manila from Hanoi, Vietnam, for talks with senior Philippines officials.