North Korean officials were not happy with the latest round of nuclear talks on Saturday, saying the United States had not met their expectations nor has it “discarded its old stance” on the Korean peninsula’s future.
After leaving the latest round of denuclearization talks in Stockholm, Sweden, North Korea’s top negotiator, Kim Miyong Gil signaled little optimism for continued discussions with the U.S. according to the Associated Press.
Kim said the talks had “not fulfilled our expectations and broke down. I am very displeased about it.”
Despite Kim’s comments, U.S. officials expressed hope that talks would continue.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the U.S. and North Korea had seen “good discussions” after having met with North Korean officials over the course of eight-and-a-half hours Saturday.
Ortagus said Kim’s characterization of the talks “did not reflect” the progress the two countries had made in their ongoing efforts to negotiate the end of North Korean nuclear activity. She said the U.S. delegation had “previewed a number of new initiatives” to progress each of the four primary outcomes President Donald Trump laid out when he first initiated peace talks with North Korea in June of 2018.
Those “four pillars” of North Korean negotiations, as explained in a joint U.S.-North Korean statement, include: the initiation of new relations between the two countries, a peace regime on the Korean peninsula, North Korean commitment to denuclearization and the recovery of U.S. POW/MIA personnel remains in North Korea.
In a further show of optimism, Ortagus pointed to a Swedish invitation to return to Stockholm in two weeks as a sign that both countries would return to the negotiating table, and that the Saturday talks would be seen as a preliminary round of ongoing discussions.
“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.
After the first set of talks in Singapore in 2018, the Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un again met for a new round of talks in Vietnam in February of this year, but those talks appeared to have met an impasse with U.S. unwillingness to end the sanctions against North Korea.
North Korea returned to its ballistic missile development programs within weeks of the failed talks and have conduct numerous missile tests, casting doubt on their willingness to speak with the U.S. about denuclearization.
While the U.S. has already reportedly accepted the Swedish invitation to return to negotiations, it remains unclear if North Korea is ready to continue