US N.Korea talks end in contrasting assessments

STOCKHOLM North Korea and the United States walked

away on Saturday with opposing assessments of nuclear talks in Sweden, which

Pyongyang said broke down but Washington called good discussions.

The United States accepted host Sweden's invitation to resume talks in two

weeks' time, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

The discussions followed months of stalemate after 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 negotiations have not fulfilled our expectations and finally broke

up without any outcome. (It) is totally due to the fact that the US would

not give up their old attitude, the nuclear armed North's leading

negotiator Kim Myong Gil told reporters in Stockholm.

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.

He added that North Korea stood at the crossroads of dialogue or

confrontation.

Kim Myong Gil's US counterpart was Stephen Biegun, Trump's special envoy.

Ortagus said in a statement that the early comments from the DPRK

delegation do not reflect the content or the spirit of today's eight and a

half hour discussion.

The US brought creative ideas and had good discussions with its DPRK

counterparts, she said, using the North's formal acronym.

Ortagus said the United States previewed a number of new initiatives that

would allow progress on the statement reached in Singapore at the first

Trump Kim summit last year.

The two leaders adopted a vaguely worded document on the complete

denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula but little progress has since been

made on dismantling the North's nuclear programme.

Dialogue 'needed'

The two sides met at a heavily guarded venue on an island off Stockholm,

several hundred metres (yards) from the North Korean embassy, an AFP

correspondent said.

As the meeting got underway, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde tweeted: I

am encouraged that US and (North Korean) working level delegations are

currently in Sweden to hold talks.

Dialogue, she said, was needed to reach denuclearisation and peaceful

solution.

Similar level talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament were held in

Stockholm in March 2018 and then in January this year.

North Korea claimed to have entered a new phase in its defence capability

with Wednesday's test of a submarine launched ballistic missile the most

provocative since Pyongyang began dialogue with Washington in 2018.

North Korea frequently couples diplomatic overtures with military moves as

a way of maintaining pressure on negotiating partners, analysts say, and may

believe this weapons system gives it added leverage.

The Pentagon said Thursday the missile seems to have been launched from a

sea based platform and not a submarine.

Trump has said he sees no problem with a string of short range missile

tests conducted previously by North Korea, while insisting his personal ties

with the North's leader remain good.

Heavy sanctions

The United Nations Security Council is expected to hold closed door talks

early next week on the latest test, diplomats said.

Those talks were requested by Britain, France and Germany, as the European

powers push for the world body to keep up pressure on Pyongyang which is

under heavy US and UN sanctions over its weapons program.

North Korea is banned from ballistic missile launches by Security Council

resolutions.

Since the US North Korea talks began, Russia and China have been calling

for the UN to start lifting sanctions so as to create momentum towards the

North's denuclearisation. But the United States has refused.

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.

These are weighty issues, and they require a strong commitment by both

countries. The United States has that commitment.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)