Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

North Korea's foreign minister visits Sweden amid talks of Kim-Trump summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump
Patty Aguilar | 17 March, 2018, 10:11

Ri and Wallstrom dined at the foreign ministry on Thursday evening, then met again on Friday at Villa Bonnier, a lavish building near the U.S. embassy used by the government for official functions.

In an interview with CNN, Joseph Yun, who announced his retirement from the State Department in late February, said he also encouraged North Korean officials to respond to Trump's announcement that he will meet with Kim.

It added that a statement summarizing the talks will be made available Friday after Ri's talks with Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom.

Yun said he had delivered the message in talks with North Korean officials after Trump's announcement last week that he would be willing to meet face-to-face with Kim.

Admiral Harry Harris told the US Senate Armed Services Committee he believed the United States would stick to its demand for the "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula.

South Korea will seek high-level talks with North Korea this month as preparations for a summit began on Friday, the presidential chief of staff said, while officials in the South expressed interest in a separate summit with the United States. Ri's trip prompted speculation it could lay the groundwork for the summit in Sweden between Trump and Kim.

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If Trump follows through with the summit, it would be the first time a sitting US president has met with a North Korean leader. Moon Jae-in has made the game simple. "Are we then in a more risky situation?"

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Sweden has had diplomatic relations with North Korea since 1973 and is one of the few Western countries with an embassy in Pyongyang.

Ri's delegation included Choe Kang Il, deputy director general of the foreign ministry's North America section. "We will not disclose what they talked about", Lofven's spokesman Jonatan Holst told AFP.

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

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

He also asked Seoul to raise the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the North.

"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.

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