The story that came from a diplomatic backchannel between the US and North Korea during the early months of the Trump administration was telling. A group of American experts travelled to Stockholm to meet a group of North Korean officials in order to get a sense of what Pyongyang wanted, what its bottom line was.
Facing North Korean diplomats across the table, they asked, “what do you want?”, “What will persuade you to put down nuclear weapons?”. According to someone in the room, the North Korean diplomats were extremely self-composed, cocky even. Their position to the American team was stark:
“Accept us a nuclear state. Then we either talk about a peace treaty…or we’ll go to war.”
According to a former US official in the room, it was a breath-taking indication how far apart the two sides had drifted from their near agreement during the 2007 Six Party Talks.
Read more on The Telegraph.