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Immediately following what appeared to be a productive, eight-hour exchange in Stockholm with U.S. negotiators led by the highly capable Steve Biegun, chief North Korean envoy Kim Myong Gil promptly told the media that the talks had “failed,” adding gratuitously that they were “very bad and sickening.”

This statement may well have been written well in advance: a pre-planned ploy by Pyongyang to ramp up the pressure on the United States to elicit one-sided concessions. The North Koreans, ever the hard bargainers, no doubt assess that they now have a short-term advantage over the U.S. and are seeking to exploit it.

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