North Korean Foreign Minister Heads to Sweden

North Korean foreign minister heads to Sweden amid summit speculation

Yun said he had delivered the message in talks with North Korean officials after Trump's announcement last week that he would be willing to meet face-to-face with Kim.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho attended talks in Stockholm with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven on Friday, ahead of a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Wallstrom earlier said Sweden hopes "we can use our role and also our contacts" to facilitate U.S.

North Korea has yet to publicly comment on what it hopes to gain from the talks, leading some to view the offer for talks with skepticism.

"We've made a decision to narrow down the agenda topics to denuclearising the Korean peninsula, securing permanent peace to ease military tension and new, bold ways to take inter-Korean relations forward", said Im, who is head of the preparation team. The North Korean official had also met his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom.

Mr Ri's visit to Stockholm, where he once served as a diplomat at the North Korean embassy, has been shrouded in secrecy. The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represents United States interests in the country.

Can a more formal diplomatic relationship with North Korea lead to meaningful change? The talks were to continue on Friday.

The source said it was important to build confidence between Washington and Pyongyang, adding: "The United States wants to have help with consular matters and North Korea wants to be sure that no one is going to invade".

"We don't have any information that that meeting is about what we anticipate to be a meeting between the United States, other parties, and North Korea", department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a press conference.

Sweden acts as diplomatic representative in North Korea for the United States, which has no embassy there, and has helped with the release of U.S. citizens held by the reclusive state.

"They will also address the security situation on the Korean peninsula, which is high on the (UN) Security Council agenda", a ministry statement said.

President Trump recently accepted an invitation to meet with Mr. Kim after a year of tense power plays between the two countries in the form of tweets and missile tests.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in credited Trump's "maximum pressure" approach, including wide-ranging sanctions on North Korea, for the diplomatic thaw.

Senior South Korean officials met Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang this month and told Washington the North Korean leader was open to giving up his nuclear weapons if North Korea's security was guaranteed.

An exact time and location for the Trump-Kim meeting have not been set.

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