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Top nuclear envoy to leave for US after Sweden talks break down

South Korea's chief nuclear envoy was set to leave for Washington on Monday for talks with his US counterpart after the breakdown of the working-level nuclear negotiations between the US and North Korea in Sweden.

Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, will meet Stephen Biegun, US special representative for North Korea, in Washington to coordinate their positions and strategies in the follow-up to Saturday's talks between Biegun and North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, Kim Myong-gil.

Lee Do-hoon (Yonhap)
Lee Do-hoon (Yonhap)

The nuclear talks, held on the outskirts of Stockholm, were the first negotiations between the two sides since February's no deal summit between US President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong-un. But the talks broke off as the two sides found themselves far apart over the scope of the North's denuclearization and possible concessions by the US in return.

Shortly after the talks, Kim read out a statement to reporters outside the North Korean Embassy in Sweden and blamed the US for the talks' breakdown, saying Washington had failed to come up with a new proposal acceptable to Pyongyang.

In a statement via state media on Sunday, the North's foreign ministry also warned that any further talks with Washington will only come when the US takes steps to drop its "hostile policy" against the communist regime. (Yonhap)