North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is making a rare and surprise visit to Sweden amid speculation that Stockholm might be the location of the planned summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho gets on a vehicle on his arrival at the Beijing International airport in Beijing, Thursday, March 15, 2018.
North Korea's top diplomat arrived in Sweden on Thursday for two days of talks which could play a role in setting up a proposed summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Yet anyone who has watched the sad history of USA interaction with North Korea knows that Pyongyang always plays a multi-layer game while Washington focuses narrowly on one goal.
"I think it's much too early to speculate about that. we're not there yet", Lofven told news agency TT. While he was said to be on his way to Sweden for a foreign ministerial meeting, there are speculations that he is seeking to contact United States officials in Sweden ahead of a planned summit between the two countries.
"Right now, dialogue is needed and we are happy to have this meeting".
"We can not be naive and think that Sweden is going to resolve these problems", he said.
"The Swedes have this long-established presence in North Korea, so since the 1990s, they've particularly looked after USA interests", Hoare told CNN.
Meanwhile, Swedish public broadcaster SVT said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) was involved in the talks, though SIPRI did not return AFP's calls for a comment.More news: United Kingdom expels Russian diplomats, suspends high-level contact with Moscow over spy poisoning
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Experts have expressed skepticism that the meeting would take place, or that it would yield any results, and the White House has insisted that North Korea will have to meet specific conditions first.
Supposedly, they'll discuss prospects for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry said the aim of the talks between Ri Yong Ho and his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallstrom, "is to contribute to the effective implementation" of U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs. Sweden is now a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
The rare visit could be a first step toward a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump accepted Kim's invitation last week to meet for talks on denuclearization by May, an unexpected breakthrough that could possibly resolve the nuclear deadlock on the Korean Peninsula.
"Moon realized why relations with the US suffered during the Roh government so he would know very well how to deal with the USA", said Lee Daewoo, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea, who pointed out that Moon often gives Trump credit for bringing the North to talks. He also asked Seoul to raise the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the North.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in credited Trump's "maximum pressure" approach, including wide-ranging sanctions on North Korea, for the diplomatic thaw.
And according to Yonhap, Moon stressed that improvement in Pyongyang's ties with Tokyo and Washington was needed to help end the crisis with North Korea.