N Korean Foreign Minister meets Sweden PM ahead of US-Korea meet

North Korea says Japan 'may not get a ticket for Pyongyang' if pressure policy continues

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho was seen at an airport in Beijing on Thursday, raising the possibility that his trip might be aimed at contacting USA officials ahead of a proposed summit between the two countries.

The security situation on the Korean Peninsula is also on the agenda.

Others have suggested that Sweden, which represents USA interests through its embassy in Pyongyang, may be involved in talks regarding three American citizens being held by the North. "They now have nuclear weapons and a delivery system that can legitimately threaten all states in the United States. The aim of the visit is to contribute to the effective implementation of the resolutions", the ministry said.

The ministry said the talks will also focus on those consular responsibilities.

Speaking at a news conference held at the White House, South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong on Thursday said Kim Jong Un, during a meeting in Pyongyang earlier in the week, had "expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible".

The trip by Ri is being closely watched because a huge amount of preparation needs to be done before the summit.

Sweden's prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said on Saturday that he was willing to host a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim.


Ri's delegation included Choe Kang Il, deputy director general of the foreign ministry's North America section. Sweden's non-alignment policy allows it to mediate between states with strained diplomatic relations. Ri has not made any public comment during a visit to Stockholm that started late Thursday. "I spoke briefly with the foreign minister myself this morning before I came here", Lofven said in Berlin. The two sides resumed talks Friday.

The same has happened with the U.S. and North Korea.

Nauert said the United States was preparing for a possible summit with North Korea in good faith but had yet to hear directly from North Korea on the matter. "We will not disclose what they talked about", said Lofven's spokesman Jonatan Holst. "But it has to be the main actors who decide which role Sweden will play". Given the range of those weapons, how would that make North Korea any safer?

Sweden acts as diplomatic representative in North Korea for the United States and has helped with the release of USA citizens held by the reclusive state.

After months of tension and warmongering over Pyongyang's nuclear programme, Trump has agreed to a summit proposal relayed by South Korean envoys who met Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.

No sitting United States president has ever met a North Korean leader.

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