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N. Korea, Not Trump, Correct on Failed Summit: US Official

Kim Jong Un wanted many sanctions lifted, but not all of them, and none on weapons, official says
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2019 6:33 AM CST
In this combination of images, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and President Trump are seen during their meeting Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un ended abruptly Thursday, with Trump saying, "It was about the sanctions, basically." The president claimed that North Korea wanted all sanctions lifted without a complete dismantlement of its nuclear program, just its main nuclear complex. North Korea soon pushed back, with its foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, saying, "We offered a realistic proposal," which, in his words, was a dismantling of the Yongbyon nuclear complex in exchange for a partial lifting of sanctions that affected civilians; Ri also said the North would ink an agreement that ended for good his country's nuclear and ICBM tests. Now, thanks to some clarification from a US State Department official on which side is telling the truth: "In this case, it seems that the North Koreans are," per the AP.

The official told journalists that the North wanted an easing of UN Security Council sanctions imposed since March 2016, which includes bans on everything from metals, seafood, and luxury goods to raw materials and fuel imports. But the lifted sanctions wouldn't have included those on weapons, making Ri's initial claim about sanctions affecting civilians accurate, and not Trump's "all sanctions" claim. The official notes it was still a big ask, with the lifting of those sanctions alone "in effect [putting] us in a position of subsidizing the ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction," per CBS News. Although Kim at first seemed soured on future negotiations—a North Korean official said the leader "may have lost his will [to continue]"—the nation's state media said Friday that Kim was game for another go, and glad that Trump had made "active efforts toward results," per Fox News. (Trump does believe Kim's claim on one topic: Otto Warmbier.)

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