North Korean Minister to Visit Sweden Amid Summit Speculation

North Korean Minister to Visit Sweden Amid Summit Speculation

Some Swedish and foreign media have said that Ri - who was stationed at North Korea's embassy in Stockholm in 1985-1988 - will stay in the Scandinavian country until Sunday for other talks, though Swedish officials would not confirm those reports.

The surprise visit comes a week after President Trump agreed to meet with Kim by May to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The Swedish ministry said a statement summarizing the talks will be made available today.

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 United States interests in North Korea.

President Trump and Kim Jong Un's attempts to cool down tensions between the USA and North Korea may receive a boost from the chilly climate in Sweden.

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun arrives at a meeting with the media in Bangkok, Thailand Thomson Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department's recently retired envoy for North Korea said on Thursday he has urged North Korea to send a positive signal by releasing three American prisoners before a possible summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Sweden, whose embassy represents USA interests in the North Korean capital, has been touted as a possible venue for the momentous summit between Kim and Trump and Ri's visit fuelled speculation that a Stockholm encounter was in the cards. Ri's talks with Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom are expected to resume today.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry earlier said their discussions would focus on tensions between the two Koreas and Sweden's diplomatic work on behalf of the USA in North Korea. The foreign ministry has refused to comment Speaking in Berlin on Friday, Lofven said that if Sweden "can serve as a facilitator to bring about results, then we will of course do that".

The same has happened with the U.S. and North Korea.

"We'll see what happens next", Wallstrom said.

The trip by Ri is being closely watched because there remains a huge amount of preparation that needs to be done and relatively little time before Kim is supposedly planning to sit down for summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Trump.

Beyond creating a possible echo of another famous peace talk, the Oslo Accords facilitated by Norway between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Sweden has always been a conduit for the North Korea.

Swedish officials have said the Stockholm talks would focus on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and a possible Trump-Kim summit.

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

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

"It's worth keeping in mind that the foreign minister in the North Korean set-up is not on the level of someone who can decide about a top level meeting".

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