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North Korean peace talks ongoing in Washington

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President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their summit in Singapore in June. AFP

North Korean peace talks ongoing in Washington

Officials from the US, Japan and South Korea met in Washington on Tuesday to discuss North Korean denuclearisation, just days after negotiations between the US and North Korea broke down in Sweden.

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun held talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, the US State Department said in a statement.

They “reaffirmed the importance of continued close . . . coordination on North Korea to achieve complete denuclearisation,” it said.

After nuclear talks with the US in Sweden broke down on Saturday, North Korea said it had “no intention” to continue unless the US took steps to end hostilities.

The North walked away from the talks saying it was disappointed at the lack of “new and creative” solutions offered by Washington, though the US said the meeting involved “good discussions” and that it was willing to meet again later this month.

The meeting in Sweden came after months of stalemate following a February meeting between the North’s leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump, and after Pyongyang’s defiant test of a sea-launched ballistic missile last week.

Trump and Kim adopted a vaguely worded document on the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula” at their first summit in June last year, but little progress has since been made.

European members of the UN Security Council on Tuesday called for the strict enforcement of international sanctions against North Korea, after a closed door meeting prompted by Pyongyang’s latest missile test.

“International sanctions must remain in place and be fully and strictly enforced,” they said in a statement read by French ambassador Nicolas Riviere.

Joining France in the statement was Belgium, Germany, Poland and Britain as well as Estonia, which becomes a council member in January.

In a rare encounter with journalists on Monday, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, Kim Song, assailed the Europeans for doing Washington’s bidding in seeking the Security Council meeting.

“The United States and its followers should bear in mind that if they raise the issue of our self-defensive measures at the UN Security Council meeting in this moment, it will further [increase] our desire to defend our sovereignty,” he said.

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