North Korea refuse any more "sickening negotiations" with the US

6 October 2019, 17:36

North Korean negotiator Kim Miyong Gil spoke outside the Korean Embassy in Stockholm
North Korean negotiator Kim Miyong Gil spoke outside the Korean Embassy in Stockholm. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

North Korea have announced that negotiations between the two countries will not resume unless the US abandons its "hostile policy" towards the country.

North Korea said it will not meet with the United States for more "sickening negotiations".

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday accusing the US of trying to mislead the public and "spreading a completely ungrounded story that both sides are open to meet" again.

The chief North Korean nuclear negotiator said the talks in Sweden broke down "entirely because the US has not discarded its old stance and attitude" and came to the negotiating table with an "empty hand".

But the US said the two sides had "good discussions" that it intended to build on with more talks in two weeks.

The two nations had talks on Saturday
The two nations had talks on Saturday. Picture: PA

The statement said talks between the two nations in Stockholm on Saturday "made us think they have no political will to improve North Korea-US relations and may be abusing the bilateral relations for their own partisan interests" at home.

North Korea said it was not willing to hold "such sickening negotiations" until the US took "a substantial step to make complete and irreversible withdrawal of the hostile policy."

Kim Myong Gil, the main North Korean negotiator at the Stockholm talks, said that since the first summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June 2018, the US had been threatening his country with fresh unilateral sanctions and military exercises with South Korea.

When it entered talks with the US last year, North Korea said it was willing to deal away its advancing nuclear arsenal in return for outside political and economic benefits.

Talks are being held at Villa Elfvik Strand conference center in Lidingo, Stockholm
Talks are being held at Villa Elfvik Strand conference center in Lidingo, Stockholm. Picture: PA

US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the chief North Korean negotiator's comments following Saturday's talks did "not reflect the content or the spirit" of the "good discussions" that took place over eight-and-a-half hours.

She said the US delegation "previewed a number of new initiatives that would allow us to make progress in each of the four pillars" of a joint statement issued after Mr Trump and Mr Kim's first summit in Singapore in June 2018.

Ms Ortagus also said the US accepted an invitation from Sweden to return to Stockholm in two weeks to continue talks.

Kim Myong Gil, the North Korean negotiator, said the North had proposed a suspension of talks until December.

He said North Korea also made it clear that the two countries could discuss the North's next denuclearisation steps if the United States "sincerely responds" to previous measures taken by Pyongyang, including the suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests and the closing of its underground nuclear testing site.

North Korea has demanded the United States comes up with mutually acceptable proposals to salvage the nuclear diplomacy by the end of this year.

Kim Myong Gil said whether North Korea would lift its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests was completely up to the United States.

She said: "The fate of the future North Korea-US dialogue depends on the US attitude, and the end of this year is its deadline," the North Korean Foreign Ministry statement said.