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North Korea and US resume nuclear talks... in conference centre on outskirts of Stockholm

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By Heather Donald
North Korea and US resume nuclear talks... in conference centre on outskirts of Stockholm

An isolated conference centre on the outskirts of Stockholm was the setting on Saturday for the US and North Korea to resume nuclear talks. 

The meeting is the first formal working-level talks since Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in June and agreed to restart negotiations that stalled after a failed summit in Vietnam in February.

The hope is that these new talks will end months of political stalemate between the two nations of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. 

Analysts have said the leaders of both countries face growing incentives to reach a deal, although it is unclear whether common ground can be found after months of tension and deadlock.

Only a day after announcing the resumption of talks, North Korea said it had test-fired a new ballistic missile designed for submarine launch, a provocative gesture that also underscored the need for Washington to move quickly to negotiate limits on Pyongyang's growing arsenal.

Relations first broke down in February due to a failed summit in Vietnam. It was after this summit that Kim Jong-un hinted at scrapping the weapons test moratorium and demanded Trump to come up with mutually acceptable proposals by December. To add to the heightening tensions, Trump also rejected Kim Jong-un’s calls for sanction relief in exchange for partially surrendering nuclear capabilities.

On Saturday, police in Sweden closed off the approaches to the complex facing the Baltic Sea on the island of Lidingo, where the delegations led by US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and North Korea's Kim Myong Gil were expected to meet.

Two motorcades entered the secluded centre early in the day with a police officer confirming one carried the North Korean officials. The other included cars used by Biegun when he met Swedish Foreign Ministry officials on Friday. 

The delegation from North Korea, also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which is under sanctions banning much of its trade due to its nuclear programme, arrived in Sweden on Thursday after Pyongyang unexpectedly said talks would take place on October 5.