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North Korea offered to close Yongbyon nuclear plant for partial sanctions relief during Trump-Kim summit: Foreign minister

Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un at Hanoi summit, Vietnam Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Hanoi, Vietnam Feb 28, 2019, 11.20 PM (IST)

North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said that Pyongyang made a "realistic proposal" during Kim Jong-un's summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Yonhap news agency reported.

In a highly unusual late-night statement at the North Korean delegation's hotel, Ri Yong Ho added Pyongyang was seeking partial sanctions relief, the South Korean agency reported, denying Trump's assertion it wanted them all lifted.

North Korea offered to close Yongbyon nuclear plant for partial sanctions relief, the foreign minister said.

The US-North Korea nuclear summit in Hanoi ended abruptly without a deal on Thursday, with President Donald Trump saying he had decided to "walk" in the face of Kim Jong Un's demands to drop sanctions.

The much-anticipated second meeting between the two leaders was supposed to build on their historic first summit in Singapore, but they failed to sign a joint statement as initially scheduled and the talks ended in deadlock.

"Sometimes you have to walk and this was just one of those times," an unusually downbeat Trump told reporters.

"Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn't do that," Trump said before leaving Vietnam aboard Air Force One to head back to Washington.  

 Trump noted Kim had vowed not to resume nuclear or ballistic missile testing -- something he previously identified as a yardstick for success -- and reiterated their "close relationship".

"We just like each other... there's a warmth that we have and I hope that stays, I think it will," he said.

Story highlights

North Korea offered to close Yongbyon nuclear plant for partial sanctions relief, the foreign minister said.