North Korea’s foreign minister visits Sweden amid talks of Kim-Trump summit

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.

Sweden is the diplomatic liaison between the U.S. and North Korea. Swedish officials have offered their country as a possible summit site.   

Talks “will focus on Sweden’s consular responsibilities as a protecting power for the United States, Canada and Australia,” the ministry said in a statement, but they also will address the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

“If the key actors want Sweden to play a role, facilitate (talks), be a forum or a link or whatever it may be, then we are prepared to do that,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told Sweden’s TT news agency.

El ministro de Exteriores de Corea del Norte, Ri Yong Ho, entra en un coche a su llegada al aeropuerto internacional de Beijing, el 15 de marzo de 2018, durante su viaje a Suecia. (Minoru Iwasaki/Kyodo News via AP)

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho gets on a car on his arrival at the Beijing International airport in Beijing, Thursday, March 15, 2018. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed during a routine briefing that he was on his way to Sweden.  (AP)

Niklas Swanstrom of the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development Policy said such a meeting would only be preliminary to higher-level talks but they could give an indication of what North Korea’s interests and demands may be.

“The assumption is of course that (they) will speak a bit about the proposed talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un,” Swanstrom said, noting relations between the two Koreas “have improved significantly” in recent weeks.

The visit comes as South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha arrived in Washington. She was to meet with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but will now meet with his one-time deputy John Sullivan in the wake of his dismissal. A summit is also planned for the end of next month between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

North Korean state media has yet to confirm that either summit is taking place. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent. Follow him on Twitter@GregPalkot.

Categories: World News

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