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North Korea decries breakdown of talks US says were ‘good’

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 5, 2019

North Korean negotiator Kim Miyong Gil reads statement outside the North Korean Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (井上智太郎 / Associated Press)
North Korean negotiator Kim Miyong Gil reads statement outside the North Korean Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (井上智太郎 / Associated Press)
By Jari Tanner and Matthew Lee Associated Press

HELSINKI – North Korea’s chief negotiator said that nuclear talks with the U.S. had broken down, but Washington maintained the two sides had “good discussions” in Sweden that it intends to build on in two weeks.

The North Korean negotiator, Kim Miyong Gil, said the talks in Stockholm on Saturday had “not fulfilled our expectations and broke down. I am very displeased about it.” Speaking outside the North Korean Embassy, he read a statement in Korean that a translator next to him read in English.

Kim said negotiations broke down “entirely because the U.S. has not discarded its old stance and attitude.”

Saturday’s talks were the first between the U.S. and North Korea since the February breakdown of the second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Vietnam.

North Korea has since resumed missile tests, including an underwater-launched missile that fell inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone Wednesday.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Kim’s comments did “not reflect the content or the spirit” of the “good discussions” that took place over 8 1/2 hours, adding that the U.S. accepted an invitation from Sweden to return to Stockholm in two weeks to continue discussions.

In a statement, Ortagus said the U.S. 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 Trump and Kim’s first summit in Singapore.

“The United States and the DPRK will not overcome a legacy of 70 years of war and hostility on the Korean Peninsula through the course of a single Saturday,” Ortagus said

Talks were held at the Villa Elfvik Strand conference facility in Lidingo, an island in the Stockholm archipelago located northeast of the capital, Swedish news agency TT said. It added that Kim Miyong Gil arrived on Thursday while U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun came on Friday.

Because the U.S. does not have official diplomatic relations with North Korea, Sweden has often acted as a bridge between Washington and Pyongyang.

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