The North Korean Foreign Minister Arrived in Sweden

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York Monday Sept. 25 2017
N Korean FM Likely en Route to Sweden Ahead of Trump Kim Talks- Reports
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18 March, 2018

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho arrived late Thursday and met with Wallstrom, then made a courtesy call Friday to Lofven at government headquarters.

South Korea and Japan have held their first two-plus-two security talks in almost three years.

The closest contact Pyongyang has had with a USA administration came in 2000, when then-President Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, visited the country to lay the groundwork for a mooted meeting between the countries' leaders.

There was no immediate breakthrough, but North Korea's foreign minister was to remain in Stockholm into Saturday for further talks with Swedish leaders, as the Scandinavian intermediary strives to pave the way for talks that could end a threat of nuclear war.

"We can't rule out the possibility of a contact between the North and the US" during Ri's trip to Sweden, Yonhap quotes a Beijing source as saying.

Sweden has long-standing ties with North Korea.

If North Korea agrees to the talks, they would offer an opportunity for Pyongyang to break its silence on what Seoul says is Kim's desire to meet Trump and Moon and his willingness to freeze his country's nuclear and missile programs.

Pyongyang's first diplomat will hold talks with his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallström, as the media notes that Sweden plays the role of a defender of U.S. interests in North Korea.

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Global media have speculated that Sweden could either help set up a proposed summit or be a potential location if a tete-a-tete were to be confirmed.

An official at the South's defence ministry said authorities were aware of the Jane's report, which follows a similar one released on the 38 North website earlier this month that said a nearby reactor had also continued to show signs of operation. Sweden fully support the Security Council resolutions.

"The Security Council has also emphasized the need for intensified diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict".

Senior South Korean officials met Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang this month and told Washington the North Korean leader was open to giving up his nuclear weapons if North Korea's security was guaranteed.

"It is not even certain that North Korea wants to have a meeting".

South Korea's top diplomat said Thursday that it is important to maintain close coordination with the United States to discuss details of their summit plans with North Korea.

Officials of the two Koreas will discuss key agenda topics and other matters related to the pending summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim, Moon's presidential chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, told a media briefing. "It is up to the parties to decide how to move forward", Wallstrom said Friday before meeting Ri.


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