Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North Korean foreign minister visits Sweden

North Korean foreign minister visits Sweden

Ri held talks late on Thursday with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom, discussions that according to Swedish officials were to focus on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and a possible Trump-Kim summit.

Yun, known to be a strong proponent of diplomacy with Pyongyang, said he was "very supportive" of Trump's decision to "engage at the highest levels".

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho gets on a auto on his arrival at the Beijing International airport in Beijing, Thursday, March 15, 2018.

The visit comes as South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha arrived in Washington.

"We are a country that is militarily non-aligned and have a longstanding presence in North Korea", he said.

Lofven told local media that his government is willing to help "if the main actors want Sweden to play a role".

Gearing up for the summit of the decade? It was a dramatic reversal for the president, who had made threats against North Korea after the rogue nation's numerous missile launches.

Such a summit, which Pyongyang has long wanted, has previously been seen as possible only after major concessions from the North Koreans.

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Choe is also a veteran diplomat who participated in nuclear negotiations since the 1994 talks between Pyongyang and Washington in Geneva and was a part of a high-level North Korean delegation to South Korea for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last month from February 25 to 28.

"The fact that we are a protecting power for the USA, have been at the border since the 1950s and have had an embassy in Pyongyang since the start of the 1970s has given us a relationship with North Korea in which we feel they trust us", he said.

Because of its non-alignment policy, Sweden sometimes acts as a proxy for states whose diplomatic relations are strained.

Mr. Löfven, in an interview with Sweden's TT newswire, also cited his country's role as a protecting power for the United States as a reason for acting as a conduit between it and North Korea. That includes helping with the release of USA citizens held by the North.

"We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military".

The summit, only the third between the leaders of the North and South since the Korean war of the early 1950s, will be held in the tense border village of Panmunjom, which has few facilities.

However uncertainty remains over what would be a landmark summit.

Where those photos take place has been the subject of speculation. North Korea must join the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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