Sweden, North Korea end 3 days of talks on security issues

Erika Holt
March 18, 2018

Earlier this month, Trump thanked Swedish PM Stefan Lofven for efforts to negotiate the release of United States student Otto Warmbier, who was arrested for stealing propaganda material during a 2016 trip to Pyongyang, but who died after returning home.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry says Ri Yong Ho will meet his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom during his rare trip overseas Thursday.

Sweden's foreign minister concluded three days of talks Saturday with her North Korean counterpart, saying they discussed the "opportunities and challenges for continued diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful solution" to the Koreas' security dispute.

President Trump will meet face-to-face with the North Korean dictator in the upcoming months. Amb. "The aim of the visit is to contribute to the effective implementation of the resolutions", the ministry said. Some of it is siphoned off by the party, but most of it goes to Room 39 and buys expensive cars, yachts, liquor, luxury clothes and gourmet food for Kim and favored officials whose loyalty he buys, often with watches and jewelry. The possible summit would also take place as the North snaps off regular weapons tests in a dogged march toward its goal of a viable nuclear arsenal that can threaten the USA mainland.

Niklas Swanstrom of the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development Policy said the meeting between the two foreign ministers would only be preliminary to higher-level talks but they could give an indication of North Korea's interests and demands.

"What does North Korea mean by the suggestion that it will consider denuclearization as a condition for these talks?" she added. "We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. We will not disclose what they talked about". But South Korea and Japan also have strained relations and different perspectives on the problem. Its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang was the first Western embassy established in the country, in 1975. The rivals agreed to march together to open the games and to field their first joint Olympic team in women's hockey.

"It is evident that the whole world is following the situation on the Korean peninsula".

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A source close to the Trump administration told CNN that the reason Trump has put Pompeo at the State Department was because he "wanted a strong team ready for North Korea".

One step the North might take is to offer to freeze or scrap its long-range nuclear missile program, which has anxious US officials who think Kim might soon acquire the ability to fire nuclear warheads at the USA mainland.

What is perhaps more significant, in his announcement, Mr. Chung made clear that Kim Jong-un "clearly affirmed his commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and stated he would have no reason to possess nuclear weapons should the safety of his regime be guaranteed and military threats against North Korea removed".

Kim knows what happened to Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi when, after the capture of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, he handed the entire Libyan nuclear weapons program - the uranium, the centrifuges, the designs to build bombs - over to the United States for secure storage.

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

Worldwide media have speculated that Sweden could be a potential location if a Trump-Kim summit were to be confirmed.

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