Nth Korean foreign minister visits Sweden

By , 25/04/2020 19:35

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is on his way to Sweden for talks with Margot Wallstrom.North Korea’s foreign minister is due to visit Sweden, a surprise move that could be a first step toward a meeting in the Scandinavian country between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry says Ri Yong Ho will meet his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom.

The ministry said talks “will focus on Sweden’s consular responsibilities as a protecting power for the United States, Canada and “, but also will also address the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Sweden has had diplomatic relations with North Korea since 1973, and is now one of the few Western countries to have an embassy in Pyongyang. It provides consular services for the US in North Korea.

“The aim of the visit is to contribute to the effective implementation of the resolutions,” the ministry said, referring to the condemnation of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs by the UN Security Council.

It said the United Nations had “emphasised the need for intensified diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict”.

South Korean news agency Yonhap said Ri would be on a flight from Beijing due to land in Stockholm at 4.30pm on Thursday local time.

The Swedish ministry said a statement summarising the talks will be made available on Friday.

Swedish officials, including Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, have said the country is willing to help out in the discussions between the United States and North Korea. Trump has agreed to meet Kim by May.

Swedish media say that a North Korean delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol paid a visit to Stockholm in late January and briefly met with Lofven and Wallstrom.

Ri, a former diplomat in Stockholm and London, and an ex-nuclear envoy with broad experience in negotiating with rivals South Korea and the United States, was tapped as Pyongyang’s foreign minister in 2016.

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