Sweden, North Korea talks extended to Saturday

A television screen showing President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a railway station in Seoul

A television screen showing President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a railway station in Seoul

North Korea's foreign minister attended talks in Stockholm with Sweden's prime minister, the isolated country's latest move in a diplomatic chess match that could produce an unprecedented meeting with Donald Trump. North Korea's state media has yet to comment on the pending summit.

"I think North Korea is going to go very well", he said last week.

Sweden is one of a handful of places analysts believe could host the meeting, along with Switzerland, the neutral nation where Kim went to school; the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone that divides North and South Korea; and China, which has diplomatic relations with the United States and North Korea and has hosted Kim's father, the late Kim Jong Il.

He is expected to meet her again on Friday.

"It was a good and constructive atmosphere".

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Ri's delegation arrived at Stockholm Arlanda Airport around 6 p.m. Thursday and headed to the North Korean Embassy. He had talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven who has indicated his willingness to be involved in the process. "We've said that we can provide - we can be a channel or do whatever we can to see that the dialogue is smooth".

"If we can use our contacts in the best way, we will do so", she said, noting the situation on the Korean peninsula was "of interest to us all" in terms of security.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho leaves the Swedish government building Rosenbad in Stockholm, Sweden, March 16, 2018.

James Schoff, a former Pentagon adviser on East Asia, said Japanese officials are unnerved by Trump's unpredictability and fear that the USA could reach a deal with Kim on long-range North Korean missiles that threaten the US without addressing the shorter-range weapons that threaten Japan.

Global media have speculated that Sweden could either help set up a proposed summit or be a potential location if a tete-a-tete were to be confirmed.

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The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan agreed Saturday to strengthen coordination amid a flurry of diplomacy with North Korea and pending bilateral issues, the South's foreign ministry said.

The National Security Council has assembled a working group, composed of officials from several agencies, to strategize before the meeting.

North Korea's defiant nuclear and missile programme has led to severe worldwide sanctions against Pyongyang in the hope they would force the regime to abandon its military threats.

On Saturday, Kono was to meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in Washington to exchange views on the summit planned between Moon and Kim.

This, the key player in creating the Olympic-led detente with North Korea last month said was upon confirmation by the committee that the April inter-Korean summit should serve as a major turning point in fundamentally addressing the issue of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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The administration struck a cautious note, saying in a statement: "Both leaders affirmed the importance of learning from the mistakes of the past, and pledged continued, close coordination to maintain maximum pressure on the North Korean regime".

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