Nikki Haley, the closest rival to former President Donald Trump, and Indian American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy are expected to spar with each other in the fourth GOP-sponsored presidential debate at the University of Alabama on Tuesday night as former ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to hold his own on his anti-Trump stance.
The most high profile working-level nuclear talks between the US and North Korea in the Swedish capital of Stockholm collapsed after Pyongyang started accusing Washington of coming to the negotiations table “empty-handed”, according to reports on Sunday.
Saturday’s meeting marked the first formal negotiation between the two sides since February’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi collapsed due to gaps over the extent of Pyongyang’s denuclearization and Washington’s sanctions relief, Yonhap News Agency reported.
This came just days after North Korea tested a new missile, in a significant advance on earlier tests.
The meeting was the first formal working-level discussion since US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met briefly at the inter-Korean border zone in June.
Stephen Biegun, Pyongyang’s chief negotiator Kim Myong-gil said while having a media interaction outside North Korean Embassy that, “The negotiation did not live up to our expectations and broke down. I am very displeased”.
He further said, “It is entirely because the US has not discarded its old stance and attitude that the negotiation this time failed to produce any results.”
“The North could enter discussions on the “next phase” of its denuclearization measures if Washington replied “sincerely” to Pyongyang’s earlier measures including the self-imposed moratorium on nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches”, Kim Myong-gil added.
However, shortly afterwards, the US state department released a contradictory statement from spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, BBC reported.
“The early comments from the DPRK [North Korean] delegation do not reflect the content or the spirit of today’s 8.5-hour discussion,” Ortagus said.
“The US brought creative ideas and had good discussions with its DPRK counterparts,” she added.
“Washington has also accepted Sweden’s invitation to host more talks in two weeks’ time”, Ortagus said.
The two have held two summits so far. The first one in Singapore in 2018 resulted in a vague denuclearisation agreement which led to a few concrete results.
The agreement included a set of their commitments to build new bilateral relations, make joint efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and work towards its “complete denuclearization”.
On Wednesday, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile designed for submarine launch.
US President Donald Trump downplayed the Korean test in remarks to press in Washington, stating that the two countries would be meeting soon, Aljazeera reported.
The longest-running nuclear programme, the Yongbyan nuclear site, will be a point of contention during talks, as many estimates. Kim Jong-un had offered to close the site during the Hanoi summit in February with Trump, in exchange for the lifting of sanctions which the US officials said were too many.
On Thursday, South Korean Ambassador to the UN Cho Tae-Yul said in a parliamentary audit that North should “change course” and dismiss the idea that time may be on its side further adding, “There is no guarantee that the Trump administration’s position will remain flexible to maintain the momentum for dialogue, I think it could be the last chance for the North.” Yonhap quoted him as saying.