Published: Sun, March 18, 2018

Korean minister in 'constructive' talks in Sweden

Korean minister in 'constructive' talks in Sweden

Ri Yong-ho arrived in the Swedish capital on Thursday evening with Choe Kang-il, deputy director general of the foreign ministry's North America section.

Kim is reportedly committed to denuclearization, but doubts persist as to whether he is serious about giving up the North's nuclear weapons.

KBS World Radio in South Korea cited speculation the two would exchange information about the forthcoming meeting between Trump and Kim.

Swedish public broadcaster SVT meanwhile said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) was involved in the talks, though SIPRI did not return AFP's calls for a comment.

Neither side revealed the nature of their meeting, which comes at a time of intense uncertainty about North Korea. During Ri's meeting with the prime minister, they also discussed confidence-building measures with the USA, including the release of American citizens from detention in North Korea.

"We are hoping that if we can use our role and also our contacts, then we will put them to the best use". Lofven pointed out that Sweden is not militarily aligned and has had a long-standing presence in North Korea, but added that the main players had to "decide which role Sweden will play". Donald Trump expressed his thanks to Stefan Lofven at a news conference in Washington last week.

Kang and Sullivan "agreed that worldwide pressure on North Korea must be maintained until the regime takes credible, verifiable and concrete steps toward denuclearization", Nauert added.

A Trump-Kim summit would follow an inter-Korean summit slated for late April at the truce village of Panmunjeom. "We've been working with North Korea".

"We have a very big trade with them, and we protect them", Mr Trump said in an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post.

"Right now, dialogue is needed and we are happy to have this meeting". In 1975 Sweden opened its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang.

Abe met South Korean National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon on Tuesday to discuss a summit between Trump and Kim by the end of May.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump appeared to hint at withdrawing United States troops stationed in South Korea if Seoul failed to address its trade deficit with Washington.

Kono and Mattis agreed that through a planned US visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for talks with Trump in early April, the two allies will closely coordinate on issues related to North Korea, including a first-ever U.S.

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