North Korea says no talks unless US stops hostile policies

North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Kim Myong Gil (centre) seen outside the North Korean embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, on Oct 5, 2019.
North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Kim Myong Gil (centre) seen outside the North Korean embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, on Oct 5, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP, REUTERS) - North Korea said Sunday (Oct 6) it has "no desire" to continue nuclear talks unless the United States takes steps to end hostilities, a day after negotiations in Sweden broke down.

Pyongyang has "no desire to hold such nauseating negotiations such as this one unless the US takes practical measures to end hostile policies", a spokesman for the North's foreign ministry said.

"The fate of the US-North Korea dialogue is in Washington's hands and the deadline is until the end of this year," he said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea said there was no way US would bring alternative plans for their stalled nuclear talks within two weeks.

The two countries were holding working-level talks in Sweden but these were broken off on Saturday.

The US State Department has said it had accepted Sweden’s invitation to return for more discussions with Pyongyang in two weeks.

North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator had said late on Oct 5 that working-level nuclear talks in Sweden between officials from Pyongyang and Washington had broken off, dashing prospects for an end to months of stalemate.

Mr Kim Myong Gil, who spent much of the day in talks with an American delegation, cast the blame on what he portrayed as United States inflexibility, saying the other side's negotiators would not "give up their old viewpoint and attitude".

"The negotiations have not fulfilled our expectation and finally broke off," Mr Kim told reporters outside the North Korean embassy, speaking through an interpreter.

 
 
 
 

The US State Department said those comments did not reflect "the content or spirit" of more than eight-and-a-half hours of talks, and Washington had accepted Sweden's invitation to return to the country for more discussions with Pyongyang in two weeks.

"The US brought creative ideas and had good discussions with its DPRK counterparts," spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

North Korea is also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

She said the US delegation had previewed a number of new initiatives that would pave the way for progress in the talks, and underscored the importance of more intensive engagement to solve the many issues dividing both sides.

"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. These are weighty issues, and they require a strong commitment by both countries. The United States has that commitment," she said.

North Korea's Mr Kim downplayed the US gestures.

"The US raised expectations by offering suggestions like a flexible approach, new method and creative solutions, but they have disappointed us greatly and dampened our enthusiasm for negotiation by bringing nothing to the negotiation table," he said.