North Korean minister in 'constructive' talks in Sweden

Mar 17, 2018, 01:38
North Korean minister in 'constructive' talks in Sweden

US President Donald Trump has reaffirmed his plan to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by the end of May during a call with South Korea's president, voicing "cautious optimism" over recent developments, the White House says.

North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, at center facing, and his delegation arrive at Arlanda airport outside Stockholm, Sweden, Thursday March 18, 2018.

Meanwhile, South Korea will seek to send its art troupe and demonstration team of Taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial art, to Pyongyang in early April as agreed upon.

"We value this opportunity to arrange a meeting", she said without specifying to what she was referring.

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Earlier on Friday, Ri also met Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, the latter's press secretary, Erik Nises, told CNN.

"We have always said we want to be a mediator that facilitates this process", Lofven said. So far, North Korea has yet to comment publicly on what it hopes to gain from the talks.

"To this end, we chose to concentrate on an agenda concerning denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, permanent establishment of peace including plans to drastically reduce military tensions, and a new and bold advancement of inter-Korean relations", Im said".

Ri's visit to Stockholm, where he once served as a diplomat at the North Korean Embassy, has been shrouded in secrecy. The summit will take place at Peace House, a building inside the truce village of Panmunjeom located in the heavily fortified demilitarized zone.

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The historically neutral European country, whose embassy represents USA interests in the North Korean capital, has often played the role of intermediary in discussions between Washington and Pyongyang.

Moon and Abe agreed to work together to resolve pending issues between the North and Japan, including the issue of Japanese nationals kidnapped by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

"We can be a channel or do whatever we can to see that the dialogue is smooth", he said, adding that "with that relation with North Korea, I believe that they trust us, We are a non-aligning country, and-on military, non-aligning country".

That could suggest a potential breakthrough, or a fallback to the North's longstanding position that it's willing to get rid of its nuclear weapons if the US guarantees its safety.

More news: North Korea Has Suggested It Is Open To Talks With US