North Korea's top diplomat due in Sweden for talks

North Korea's top diplomat due in Sweden for talks

The Swedish Foreign Ministry said on Friday night that Ri and Wallstrom planned to meet again Saturday and a summary of their discussions would be provided afterward.

She was speaking a day after North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho landed in Sweden for talks, prompting speculation the visit could lay the groundwork for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "We'll see what happens next", Wallstrom told reporters after the talks concluded.

Sweden has longstanding ties with Pyongyang, and its embassy in North Korea was one of the first Western diplomatic missions there in the 1970s.

The abrupt decision to accept the summit has triggered much skepticism from Korea observers but, after his call with Moon, Trump's White House remained cautiously optimistic that his strategy of making military threats backed by crippling real-world sanctions had forced Kim's hand.

After months of tension and warmongering over Pyongyang's nuclear programme, Trump has agreed to a summit proposal relayed by South Korean envoys who met Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang.

Ri's delegation included Choe Kang Il, deputy director general of the foreign ministry's North America section.

Swedish public broadcaster SVT reported, without citing sources, that Ri planned to stay in Sweden until Sunday.

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Sweden is among a number of countries touted as a possible venue for what would be a historic meeting between Trump and Kim, who have engaged in bellicose mudslinging over North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho was on Thursday en route to Sweden, which represents USA interests in Pyongyang, for talks with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom, the Scandinavian country's Foreign Ministry said.

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.

"We have always said we want to be a mediator that facilitates this process", Lofven said.

The presidential official said that foreign ministry officials are "warming up" for future denuclearization talks, but didn't get into the summit preparatory committee because the upcoming meeting will focus on key fundamental issues.

Trump's decision to agree to a meeting with Kim came March 8, while Tillerson was in Africa tending to other diplomatic business.

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