North Korea decries breakdown of talks US says were ‘good’

North Korean negotiator Kim Miyong Gil, center, reads statement outside the North Korean embassy in Stockholm on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (Kyodo News via AP)
Updated 06 October 2019

North Korea decries breakdown of talks US says were ‘good’

  • The North Korean negotiator: Talks in Stockholm had ‘not fulfilled our expectations and broke down’
  • In February, second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Vietnam stalled

HELSINKI: North Korea’s chief negotiator said that nuclear talks with the US had broken down, but Washington maintained the two sides had “good discussions” in Sweden that it intends to build on in two weeks.
The North Korean negotiator, Kim Myong Gil, said the talks in Stockholm on Saturday had “not fulfilled our expectations and broke down. I am very displeased about it.”
Speaking outside the North Korean Embassy, he said that negotiations broke down “entirely because the US has not discarded its old stance and attitude” and came to a negotiating table with an “empty hand.”
Saturday’s talks were the first between the US and North Korea since the February breakdown of the second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Vietnam. The two leaders held a brief, impromptu meeting at the Korean border in late June and agreed to restart diplomacy.
North Korea has since resumed missile and other weapons tests, including the first test of an underwater-launched missile in three years that fell inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone Wednesday.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Kim’s comments did “not reflect the content or the spirit” of the “good discussions” that took place over 8 ½ hours, adding that the US accepted an invitation from Sweden to return to Stockholm in two weeks to continue discussions. Kim, the North Korean negotiator, said North Korea proposed a suspension of talks until December.
The Vietnam summit fell apart because Trump rejected Kim Jong Un’s calls for extensive sanctions relief in return for dismantling his main nuclear complex, a partial disarmament step. North Korea has since demanded the United States come up with mutually acceptable proposals to salvage the nuclear diplomacy by the end of this year.
During the Stockholm meeting, Kim Myong Gil said North Korea made it clear that the two countries can discuss next denuclearization steps by North Korea if the United States “sincerely responds” to the previous North Korean measures including the suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests and closing its underground nuclear testing site. He called the North Korean stance “practical and reasonable.”
Kim repeated North Korea’s previous statement that the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will only be possible when “all hurdles endangering our safety and obstructing our development are removed clearly and undoubtedly.” He said whether North Korea will lift its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests is completely up to the United States.
North Korea has said it was compelled to develop nuclear weapons to cope with a US military threat. Before entering nuclear disarmament negotiations early last year, North Korea had argued it won’t abandon its nuclear program unless the United States withdraw its 28,500 troops from South Korea, end its military drills with South Korea and take other steps that guarantee North Korea’s security.
In a statement, Ortagus said the US delegation “previewed a number of new initiatives that would allow us to make progress in each of the four pillars” of a joint statement issued after Trump and Kim’s first summit in Singapore.
“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. The DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.
Talks were held at the Villa Elfvik Strand conference facility in Lidingo, an island in the Stockholm archipelago located northeast of the capital, Swedish news agency TT said. It added that Kim Myong Gil arrived on Thursday while US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun came on Friday.
Because the US does not have official diplomatic relations with North Korea, Sweden has often acted as a bridge between Washington and Pyongyang.


Philippines and India agree to strengthen defense, security ties

In this handout photograph taken and released by Indian Presidential Palace on October 18, 2019, India's President Ram Nath Kovind (C-L) attends a press conference with Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (C-R) at Malacanan Palace in Manila. (AFP)
Updated 20 October 2019

Philippines and India agree to strengthen defense, security ties

  • The two leaders agreed to strengthen maritime security ties

MANILA: The Philippines and India have agreed to boost defense and security cooperation following talks between President Rodrigo Duterte and his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind on Friday.
Kovind is in Manila as part of a five-day official visit to the Philippines that began on Thursday.
In a joint statement, Duterte said he and Kovind have committed to building a “partnership” between the Philippines and India “that enables us to face challenges to our hard-won progress, jointly and effectively.”
As Duterte welcomed India’s role in his country’s defense capability upgrade program, against the backdrop of growing security cooperation, he said they have agreed “to continue working together to fight terrorism and violent extremism and other transboundary threats.”
Kovind said “both of our countries have been victims of terrorism,” and the two leaders “committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms
and manifestations.”
He added: “As two vibrant democracies that believe in a rules-based international order, respect for international law and sovereign equality of nations, the Philippines and India are natural partners in the pursuit of their respective national development and security objectives.”
The two leaders also agreed to strengthen maritime security ties.
“As countries strategically located in the Pacific and Indian oceans, we affirmed our shared interest to protect our maritime commons and advance the rule of law in our maritime domains,” Duterte said.

BACKGROUND

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said ‘both of our countries have been victims of terrorism,’ and the two leaders ‘committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.’

He added that they also discussed “the most pressing concerns of our region and beyond, such as maritime security and economic integration.”
Following their meeting, they witnessed the signing of maritime, tourism, science, technology and cultural agreements.
Among them was a memorandum of understanding between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Indian Navy to enhance maritime security by sharing information on nonmilitary and nongovernment shipping vessels between the two countries.
“With the signing of bilateral agreements, we have likewise widened the path toward enhancement of our engagement in maritime security, science and technology, tourism and cultural cooperation,” Duterte said.
“We hope to look back on this day as a milestone in our relations, the day when we set out to turn promise into reality, and potential into concrete benefits that bring the greatest positive impact on the lives of our peoples.”