North Korean foreign minister to start a rare visit to Sweden on Thursday

Reuters , Thursday 15 Mar 2018

Ri Yong-ho
File Photo: North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho (AFP)

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will begin a rare two-day visit on Thursday to Sweden, which represents the United States diplomatically in the isolated country, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said.

Sweden, which is not a member of the US-led NATO military alliance, has been mentioned as a possible location for a mooted face-to-face meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Ri will hold talks with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom on the security situation on the Korean peninsula and Sweden's representation of the United States, which has no embassy in North Korea, the ministry said.

In its statement, it noted that the UN Security Council had unanimously condemned North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programmes and demanded the "complete, verifiable and irrevocable elimination of these programmes".

"Sweden fully supports the Security Council resolutions. The aim of the visit is to contribute to the effective implementation of the resolutions," the ministry said.

Since Trump's surprise announcement last week that he was willing to meet North Korea's Kim, speculation has mounted over what location might be chosen to host what would be the first-ever meeting between serving leaders of the two countries.

Kim has yet to publicly confirm his readiness to meet Trump. 

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