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North Korean foreign minister in Sweden amid speculation

17 March, 2018, 01:36 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Sweden was involved in efforts to secure the release of US student Otto Warmbier who was freed by North Korea in June 2017 but died shortly after returning home

Talks between Sweden and North Korea in Stockholm will continue on Saturday after initially being due to end late on Friday, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

Im added it would be necessary for South Korea and the United States to hold a summit after President Moon Jae-in's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un - a measure that Im said would help both Washington and Pyongyang narrow gaps before the planned summit to be held by May.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho arrived in the Swedish capital on Thursday for talks with Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom.

The first meeting, Im said, confirmed the upcoming inter-Korean summit should become a turning point to resolve the Korean Peninsula issues. "We are hoping that if we can use our role and also our contacts there, we will put it to the best use, and then it's for the parties to decide".

Can a more formal diplomatic relationship with North Korea lead to meaningful change?

Earlier, Lofven had said that Stockholm is willing to host the historic summit.

"We have always said we want to be a mediator that facilitates this process", Lofven said.




The rare visit prompted speculation the two diplomats could lay the groundwork for a possible meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The discussions between Ri and Wallstrom are to "focus on Sweden's consular responsibilities as a protecting power for the United States, Canada and Australia", the Swedish government said when the two-day visit was announced.

North Korea has yet to make official comment on a proposed face-to-face meeting. Trump has accepted Kim's invitation for talks and agreed to meet with him by May.

Meanwhile, South Korea will seek to send its art troupe and demonstration team of Taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial art, to Pyongyang in early April as agreed upon.

"To this end, we made a decision to concentrate on an agenda concerning denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, permanent establishment of peace including plans to drastically reduce military tensions, and a new and bold advancement of inter-Korean relations", Im said".

He said the South did not inform the North about top security officials' recent visits to the United States, China, Japan and Russian Federation to discuss the latest developments.

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