Working-level negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea in Stockholm, Sweden this weekend have failed to produce a deal, Pyongyang’s chief negotiator said on Saturday.
In a statement following a day of talks with American counterparts at the Villa Elfvik Strand conference center just north of Stockholm, Kim Myong Gil said the U.S. had not been able to provide the DPRK with the new “calculation” demanded by Pyongyang in recent months.
“The breakdown of the negotiations without producing any results is entirely due to Washington’s failure to abandon its outdated stance and attitude,” Kim said in comments outside the DPRK embassy in Stockholm, in comments carried by South Korean media.
“The United States had raised our expectations by hinting at a flexible approach, new ways, and creative solutions, but has come up with nothing, and it has greatly disappointed us and discouraged us from negotiating,” he said.
“The U.S. came out empty [handed] without any calculations we asked for,” he continued. “The negotiations failed to live up to our expectations and broke down.”
Reminding the U.S. of DPRK leader Kim Jong Un’s warning earlier in the year that he would pursue a “new path” should diplomacy with the U.S. not succeed, Kim said it was now up to the U.S. whether North Korea’s self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing will continue.
The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NK News on the outcome of the talks.
Talks began at 10:00 local time and lasted for much of the day, and were held primarily between Kim and his U.S. counterpart, Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun.
The two sides held a preliminary round of meetings on Friday, with talks taking place between senior DPRK diplomat Kwon Jong Gun and the U.S.’s deputy delegation chief Mark Lambert.
The talks were the first of their kind between the U.S. and North Korea since January, as well as their first since a summit between the two countries in Hanoi in February failed to reach a deal.
Discussions were set to be dominated by the questions of sequencing — with observers suggesting ahead of time that a “small deal” between the two countries, in which Pyongyang made incremental steps towards denuclearization in exchange for partial sanctions relief, may be on the table.
Speaking to reporters in Athens earlier on Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was “hopeful” the two sides would be able to make progress in talks this weekend.
“We came with a set of ideas, we hope the North Koreans came with a good spirit and a willingness to try to move forward and implement what President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to back in Singapore,” he said, while stressing that “a lot of work needs to be done.”
Featured image: Jonatan Svensson Glad