North Korea ends ‘sickening negotiations’ with US, says talk of future meeting is ‘ungrounded’





Posted

October 07, 2019 12:28:29

North Korea has said it won’t meet with the United States for more “sickening negotiations” unless Washington abandons its “hostile policy” regarding Pyongyang, as the two countries offered different takes on their weekend nuclear talks in Sweden.

Key points:

  • North Korea said the US has been threatening it with fresh unilateral sanctions
  • Foreign experts doubt whether North Korea would completely abandon its nuclear program
  • Saturday’s talks were the first between the two nations since the second Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam

After their first talks in more than seven months in Stockholm on Saturday, the chief North Korean nuclear negotiator said the discussions 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.

On Sunday night, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement accusing the US of trying to mislead the public and “spreading a completely ungrounded story that both sides are open to meet” again.

The statement, read by North Korean negotiator Kim Miyong Gil on the steps of the North Korean Embassy in Stockholm, said the talks “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.

“We have no intention to hold such sickening negotiations as … happened this time (in Sweden) before the US takes a substantial step to make complete and irreversible withdrawal of the hostile policy toward the DPRK,” Mr Kim said, referring to the official name of North Korea.

North Korea has previously accused the United States of plotting an invasion of the country and maintained that US-led sanctions against the North were stifling its economy.

Mr Kim 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 has been threatening his country with fresh unilateral sanctions and military exercises with South Korea.

China and North Korea celebrate ‘invincible friendship’

But as diplomatic relations with the US deteriorated, Mr Kim celebrated North Korea’s 70-year friendship with China.

Pyongyang’s state news agency, KCNA, said Mr Kim sent a message to the Chinese President on Sunday, saying their countries’ “invincible friendship will be immortal on the road of accomplishing the cause of socialism”.

“[Our two nations] will steadily defend the cause of socialism and preserve peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the world,” said Mr Kim, according to state media.

Chinese President Xi Jinping replied by promising to promote a “long-term, sound and stable” relationship with North Korea.

“I highly value the development of China-DPRK ties and cherish the mutual trust and friendship I have with Chairman Kim,” Mr Xi said.

North Korea was among the first countries to recognise the People’s Republic of China after it was founded in 1949.

Mr Xi and Mr Kim have met five times in the past 18 months and Mr Xi was the first Chinese leader to visit the reclusive state in 14 years.

Previous US talks

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.

But many foreign experts doubt whether North Korea would completely abandon a nuclear program that it has built after decades of struggle.

Before the Singapore talks, North Korea had long said it would denuclearise only if the US withdrew its 28,500 troops from South Korea, ended military drills with the South and took other steps to guarantee the North’s security.

Saturday’s talks were the first between the two nations since the second Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam in February collapsed due to squabbling over how much sanctions relief should be given to North Korea in return for dismantling its main nuclear complex.

The two leaders held a brief impromptu meeting at the Korean border in late June and agreed to restart diplomacy.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the chief North Korean negotiator’s comments about Saturday’s talks did “not reflect the content or the spirit” of the “good discussions” that took place over 8.5 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.

The US does not have official diplomatic relations with North Korea, but Sweden has often acted as a bridge between Washington and Pyongyang.

ABC/wires

Topics:

world-politics,

government-and-politics,

donald-trump,

treaties-and-alliances,

korea-democratic-peoples-republic-of,

united-states,

china



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