HEADLINE N. Korea's top diplomat meets Swedish PM

HEADLINE

N. Korea's top diplomat meets Swedish PM

AFP

02:02, March 17, 2018

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho Ri Yong Ho arrived in the Swedish capital on Thursday evening (Photo: AFP)

North Korea's foreign minister held talks with Swedish officials on Friday amid reports the Scandinavian nation could help pave the way for a proposed summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Ri Yong Ho held talks in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom a week after the US President agreed to a historic summit with the North Korean leader.

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

Sweden has longstanding ties with North Korea. Its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang, which opened in 1975, was the first Western embassy established in the country.

The embassy also represents US, Canadian and Australian diplomatic interests in North Korea, with Sweden playing a key role in liaising diplomatic talks.

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

Ri also held talks with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven early Friday.

"Right now, dialogue is needed and we are happy to have this meeting. But we're not naive, we don't think we can solve the world's problems. It is up to the parties to decide how to move forward," Wallstrom said Friday before meeting Ri.

"If we can use our contacts in the best way, we will do so," she said, noting the situation on the Korean peninsula was "of interest to us all" in terms of security.

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

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.


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