North Korean foreign minister arrives in Sweden for talks


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

"We can't rule out the possibility of a contact between the North and the US" during Ri's trip to Sweden, a Beijing source told the news agency.

The visit marks another rare diplomatic move amid the series of developments concerning the isolated regime, namely the White House's announcement that US President Donald Trump accepted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's offer to meet and talk.

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

Since this would happen at the highest level of negotiations, there'd be no fallback position or further negotiations for the U.S. The only remaining option would be military intervention, which would be inevitable and turn the world against us as the aggressor, done only to protect our military presence in South Korea.

The closest contact Pyongyang has had with a USA administration came in 2000, when then-President Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, visited the country to lay the groundwork for a mooted meeting between the countries' leaders.

Worldwide media have speculated that Sweden could be a potential location if a Trump-Kim summit were to be confirmed.

"Right now, dialogue is needed and we are happy to have this meeting".

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"The main focus for the talks was the security situation on the Korean Peninsula", Wallstrom said.

The security situation on the Korean Peninsula is also on the agenda.

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.

Sweden's foreign minister concluded three days of talks Saturday with her North Korean counterpart, saying they discussed the "opportunities and challenges for continued diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful solution" to the Koreas' security dispute.

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".

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. He also asked Seoul to raise the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the North.

Michael Rubin writes: "North Korea reportedly wants President Trump to sign a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War 65 years after an armistice established a ceasefire, according to a report by the South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo".

Portman, R-Ohio, said the United States should continue its robust economic sanctions against North Korea "until North Korea changes course and ends its unsafe pursuit of nuclear weapons that threaten the United States and our allies".