North Korean minister in Sweden amid Trump-Kim speculation

Pauline Gross
March 18, 2018

South Korea will make a request to hold high-level talks with North Korea over a planned summit meeting of their leaders, the chief of staff of South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Friday. The villa is close to the embassies of South Korea and the United States.

"We'll see what happens next", Ms Wallstrom said.

"We are hoping that if we can use our role and also our contacts, then we will put them to the best use".

"We are not sending any representation", she said, adding that the United States was preparing for the summit in good faith, but has yet to hear from Pyongyang on the matter.

"We value this opportunity to arrange a meeting", she said without specifying to what she was referring.

North Korea's top diplomat met with his Swedish counterpart in a surprise visit to Stockholm.

The talks in Stockholm will also involve Sweden's consular responsibilities in North Korea, which include representing United States diplomatic interests.

Japanese broadcaster TBS said Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Moon discussed North Korea in a telephone call on Friday.

Ri made no comment as he left.

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Sweden hosts North Korean foreign minister amid speculation
The talks are to focus on Sweden's consular role as a protecting power for the United States, Canada and Australia in North Korea. Its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang, which opened in 1975, was the first Western embassy established in the country.

Lofven, speaking at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, did not directly answer a question about whether his country had Washington's support to organize talks with Pyongyang.

"What I hope comes out of the summit is that President Trump and Kim Jong Un paint a broad-brush. framework of where we need to go, and agree on some principles and agree to kick off a process", he said.

President Trump recently accepted an invitation to meet with Mr. Kim after a year of tense power plays between the two countries in the form of tweets and missile tests.

Its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang, which opened in 1975, was the first Western embassy established in the isolationist country and now represents US, Canadian and Australian diplomatic interests, with Sweden playing a key liaison role.

President Trump and Kim Jong Un's attempts to cool down tensions between the USA and North Korea may receive a boost from the chilly climate in Sweden.

The trip by Ri is being closely watched because a huge amount of preparation needs to be done before the summit.

After months of tension and warmongering over Pyongyang's nuclear programme, Trump has agreed to a summit proposal relayed by South Korean envoys who met Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.

That could suggest a potential breakthrough, or a fallback to the North's longstanding position that it's willing to get rid of its nuclear weapons if the USA guarantees its safety.

Japan also briefed South Korea on its security-related policies, including strengthening cooperation with the USA, while South Korea updated Japan on its defense policy and the Seoul-Washington alliance.

Other reports by GizPress

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