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North Korea sets deadline for US to end hostilities or forgo talks

North Korea says it has “no desire” to continue negotiations with the United States until Washington takes “practical” steps to end hostilities, a day after working-level talks between the two countries broke down in Sweden.

In a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, a spokesman for the North’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that Pyongyang had “no desire to hold such nauseating negotiations such as this one unless the US takes practical measures to end hostile policies.”

“The fate of the US-North Korea dialog is in Washington’s hands and the deadline is until the end of this year,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman also noted that there was no way the US would bring alternative plans for their stalled nuclear talks to a meeting proposed by Stockholm in two weeks after this weekend’s talks in Sweden broke down.

“The U.S. is spreading a completely unfounded story that both sides are open to meet after two weeks…. It is not likely at all that it can produce a proposal commensurate to the expectations of the DPRK and to the concerns of the world in just fortnight,” the North Korean official said.

The U.S. State Department has announced that it has accepted Sweden’s invitation to return for more discussions with Pyongyang in two weeks.

The talks in Sweden followed months of a stalemate in dialog. In February, US President Donald Trump had walked away from a summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong-un, causing the impasse.

The negotiations in Sweden collapsed when the US once again refused to reciprocate unilateral goodwill gestures by North Korea.

In Stockholm, the North’s leading negotiator, Kim Myong-gil, who spent much of Saturday in the talks, blamed the US for not giving up its “old attitude.” He said the US officials had “disappointed us greatly and dampened our enthusiasm for negotiation by bringing nothing to the negotiation table.”

PressTV-N Korea: Nuclear talks with US fail; Washington to blame

N Korea: Nuclear talks with US fail; Washington to blameNorth Korea’s chief negotiator says talks between North Korea and the United States broke down in Stockholm.

The US likewise blamed Pyongyang.

There was no immediate reaction by the US to the Sunday statement by the North Korean spokesman.

The Stockholm meeting was the first formal working-level talks since the US president and the North Korean leader met at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the Korean Peninsula in June and agreed to restart negotiations after their failed summit in Vietnam in February.

Trump’s firing of his national security adviser John Bolton — who espoused a standoffish view toward Pyongyang — last month also seemed to soften the atmosphere between the US and North Korea and raised hopes for a breakthrough in the talks, until they broke down on Saturday.

North Korea, currently under multiple rounds of harsh sanctions by the UN and the US over its nuclear and missile programs, put a unilateral halt to its missile and nuclear tests shortly before a diplomatic thaw began between Pyongyang and Seoul in early 2018 and later between the North and the US.

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