Ahead of working-level talks, US and N Korea to meet in Sweden
Officials from the United States and North Korea are set to meet in the Swedish capital of Stockholm on Friday, ahead of the working-level denuclearisation talks between the two countries.
Both sides are expected to have “preliminary contact” in the morning hours although the exact time and venue for today’s meeting are yet to be officially announced,Yonhap News Agency reported.
The deputy chiefs of countries’ delegations — Mark Lambert of the US and Kwon Jong-gun of North Korea — are expected to attend the preliminary session. Top US nuclear negotiators Stephen Biegun, and his counterpart, Kim Myong-gil, could also make an appearance to exchange greetings, observers said.
The meeting comes after North Korea fired a fresh round of unidentified projectiles off its eastern coast on Wednesday. This came even after the reclusive state said it was ready to hold working-level talks with the US.
The two sides are slated to hold the working-level talks on Saturday in a bid to accelerate Pyongyang’s disarmament process.
“It is my expectation that the working-level negotiations would accelerate the positive development of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)-US relations,” North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui was quoted as saying by state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) while referring to the communist country’s official name.
The upcoming talks will mark the first denuclearisation dialogue between the two countries following the breakdown of the Hanoi summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in February.
In that meeting, no agreement was reached due to differences over Pyongyang’s demands for sanction waivers in exchange for steps done to dismantle its nuclear programme.
In June, Trump and Kim had held an impromptu meeting at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) where the two leaders agreed to resume working-level talks to put the stalled denuclearisation negotiations back on track.
North Korea has repeatedly insisted that the removal of penalties will help spur economic growth, while the US has reaffirmed that sanctions will not be removed till the communist country completely stops its nuclear weapons programme. (ANI)