North Korea’s top negotiator reportedly said Saturday that nuclear talks between Pyongyang and the U.S. have broken down.
“The negotiations have not fulfilled our expectation and finally broke off,” Kim Myong Gil told reporters through an interpreter outside the North Korean embassy, saying U.S. negotiators refused to “give up their old viewpoint and attitude,” according to Reuters.
State Department officials, however, disputed the characterization, with spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus saying in a statement that “the U.S. brought creative ideas and had good discussions with its DPRK counterparts” during the more than eight hours of talks.
Ortagus said the delegations made progress during the talks, including previewing several new initiatives that could open the door to future progress.
“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,” she said, according to Reuters.
“These are weighty issues, and they require a strong commitment by both countries. The United States has that commitment,” Ortagus added.
Kim, the North Korean negotiator, offered a less optimistic summary of the talks thus far, telling reporters: “The U.S. raised expectations by offering suggestions like a flexible approach, new method and creative solutions, but they have disappointed us greatly and dampened our enthusiasm for negotiation by bringing nothing to the negotiation table,” according to the news service.
Kim added that the total denuclearization sought by the U.S. is still possible, but only “when all the obstacles that threaten our safety and check our development are removed completely without a shadow of doubt.”
North Korean officials have repeatedly sought relief from U.S. sanctions as part of ongoing talks.