The much anticipated working-level talks between North Korea and the U.S. fell apart without any tangible results, as the U.S. went into the negotiating table "empty-handed" according to the North Korean delegation.
"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."
Pyeongyang's chief nuclear envoy Kim Myong-gil made these remarks outside the North Korean embassy in Stockholm, after his negotiations with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun collapsed Saturday evening.
Kim went on to say that the breakdown of the talks is entirely due to Washington's failure to abandon its outdated stance and attitude.
He added North Korea had offered to start earnest discussions on the next steps for denuclearization should the U.S. reciprocate their trust-building measures including the ceasing of nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The chief negotiator then said the "new calculation" they seek, is for the U.S. to retract all measures that threaten their safety and impede their development, hinting at the need for the U.S. to provide security guarantees as well as sanctions relief.
And whether North Korea will continue to suspend nuclear tests and ICBM launches depends on the U.S., said Kim, who then told the U.S. to think more thoroughly until the end of the year.
This comes as the two sides met for the first time since the Hanoi summit fell apart in February.
Despite the reportedly amicable atmosphere the two sides shared on their preliminary meet-up the day before, the breakdown in talks came as a surprise to many.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus released a statement denying the North's account of what transpired, saying the U.S. brought creative ideas to the table and had good discussions with its North Korean counterparts.
She added that the U.S. delegation previewed a number of new initiatives that would allow them to make progress in each of the four pillars of the Singapore joint statement.
She also pointed out the difficulties in overcoming a legacy of 70 years of war and hostility on the Korean Peninsula in the course of a single Saturday.
While Ortagus said the U.S. accepted an invitation from their Swedish hosts to return to Stockholm for another meeting in two weeks time, it is unclear if the North will do so as well.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.