'US came to negotiating table empty hand'

Updated: Oct 07, 2019, 11:33 IST | Agencies

Announces N Korea after nuclear talks with the US, gives Washington until Dec to come up with acceptable proposals

US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (right). File pic/AFP
US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (right). File pic/AFP

Helsinki: North Korea's chief negotiator said that nuclear talks with the United States had broken down, but Washington maintained the two sides had "good discussions" in Sweden that it intends to build on in two weeks.

The discussions in Sweden followed months of stalemate following a February meeting between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, and came after Pyongyang's defiant test of a sea-launched ballistic missile on Wednesday.

The North Korean negotiator, Kim Myong 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 said negotiations broke down "entirely because the US has not discarded its old stance and attitude" and came to a negotiating table with an "empty hand."

During the meeting, Kim Myong Gil said North Korea made it clear that the two countries can discuss next denuclearisation steps by North Korea if the US "sincerely responds" to the previous North Korean measures including the suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests and closing its underground nuclear testing site.

He called the North Korean stance "practical and reasonable." He said whether North Korea will lift its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests is completely up to the US.

"The US raised expectations and offered suggestions like flexible approach, new methods and creative solutions but they have disappointed us greatly, and dampened our enthusiasm for negotiations by bringing nothing to the negotiation table," Kim Myong Gil said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the North's foreign ministry said Pyongyang has "no desire to hold such nauseating negotiations such as this one unless the US takes practical measures to end hostile policies". "The fate of the dialogue is in Washington's hands and the deadline is until the end of this year," he added.

North Korea has said it was compelled to develop nuclear weapons to cope with a US military threat. Before entering nuclear disarmament negotiations early last year, North Korea had argued it won't abandon its nuclear program unless the United States withdraw its 28,500 troops from South Korea, end its military drills with South Korea and take other steps that guarantee North Korea's security.

US says had good discussions

The US has refused North Korea's claims that the denuclearisation talks were not a success. "The early comments from the DPRK delegation do not reflect the content or the spirit of today's 8 1/2 hour discussion. The US brought creative ideas and had good discussions with its DPRK counterparts," US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. He said the US "previewed a number of new initiatives that would allow us to make progress".

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