Thursday, 21 November, 2019

Sweden pledges to support historic US-North Korea dialogue

Sweden pledges to support historic US-North Korea dialogue Sweden pledges to support historic US-North Korea dialogue
Patty Aguilar | 17 March, 2018, 00:22

The Swedish Foreign Ministry says Ri Yong Ho will meet his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom during his rare trip overseas Thursday.

The Scandinavian country has longstanding ties with North Korea.

"But we are not naive in believing we can solve the world's problems".

Japan has been more guarded about those talks than South Korea, and wants any discussion to include ways to resolve a dispute over the return of those abducted by North Korean agents.

At a news conference in Washington last week, Trump thanked Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven for helping American detainees in North Korea and particularly in securing the release of U.S. student Otto Warmbier previous year.

Sweden's embassy represents US, Canadian and Australian diplomatic interests in North Korea, with the country playing a key role in liaising diplomatic talks.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho arrived at Stockholm's Arlanda airport around 6.15pm (1.15am Singapore time Friday) before being whisked away in a diplomatic motorcade.

Worldwide 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.

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The historically neutral European country, whose embassy represents United States interests in the North Korean capital, has often played the role of intermediary in discussions between Washington and Pyongyang.

The ministry said ahead of the North Korean diplomat's visit that his meetings with Wallstrom would focus on "Sweden's consular responsibilities as a protecting power for the United States, Canada and Australia", but also would address the security situation on the Korean Peninsula. Sweden is now a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

The US president has agreed to meet Mr Kim by May.

Abe has made the abductions a keystone of his political career, vowing not to rest until all 13 of the people North Korea admitted to kidnapping have returned and the isolated state divulges information about the others Japan suspects were taken to train North Korean spies.

The Japanese and South Korean officials may discuss how they would cooperate on security in the event that dialogue with North Korea goes poorly and tensions on the Korean Peninsula heighten.

TBS said Abe told Moon he wanted North Korea to not only suspend nuclear and missile testing, but also accept IAEA inspectors on its soil.

According to the White House, Moon and Trump "expressed cautious optimism over recent developments and emphasized that a brighter future is available for North Korea, if it chooses the correct path".

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