Sweden and North Korea end talks ahead of possible Trump-Kim summit | News | DW | 17.03.2018
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Sweden and North Korea end talks ahead of possible Trump-Kim summit

The Swedish and North Korean foreign ministers have wrapped up three days of talks on the security situation on the Korean peninsula. Have they cleared the way for a historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un?

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom and her North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho discussed the "opportunities and challenges for continued diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict," Sweden's Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

The ministry did not comment on whether the three days of talks in Stockholm had laid any groundwork for a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"The main focus for the talks was the security situation on the Korean Peninsula," Wallstrom told reporters, adding that UN sanctions, nuclear weapons, and humanitarian concerns in North Korea were also on the agenda. Ri did not address the media during his visit.

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Landmark meeting

President Trump on Friday reaffirmed an earlier commitment to accept an invitation to meet Kim before May. North Korea has not publicly acknowledged the invitation, which was supposedly passed on by South Korean officials. If these high-stakes talks come to pass, they would be the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

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Pyongyang has not stated what it hopes to get out of the encounter, but South Korean officials who met with Kim last month say he is willing to discuss his country's nuclear weapons program. The North's nuclear activities, including several missile tests, have sent tensions with Washington and Seoul soaring. 

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho did not address the media during his trip to the Swedish capital

Sweden has had diplomatic relations with North Korea since the 1970s and is one of the few Western countries to have an embassy there. The Scandinavian country also represents US diplomatic interests in Pyongyang and serves as an important channel of communication between the US and North Korea.

A government spokesman said Wallstrom is scheduled to meet her South Korean counterpart, who visited Washington this week for talks, in Brussels on Monday.

nm/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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