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Sweden briefs South Korea on its talks with North

Sweden‘s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom briefed her South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, on the result of her recent talks with North Korea’s top diplomat, Seoul‘s foreign ministry said Monday.

Kang and Wallstrom met in Brussels on Sunday (local time) on the sidelines of a European Union meeting of foreign ministers.

The meeting followed Wallstrom’s three-day series of meetings with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho in Stockholm. Sweden said the talks were “focused primarily on the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, which is high on the U.N. Security Council agenda.”


Kang and Wallstrom have agreed to closely cooperate on making the upcoming summits with North Korea a “turning point” in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and bringing lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula, the foreign ministry here said.

“The two ministers shared the view that the recent fast changing situation unfolding on the Korean Peninsula, including the decisions to hold inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea summits, will serve as a pivotal turning point in tackling the North Korean nuclear issue from its root and bringing lasting peace,” the ministry said in a press release.

“To that end, (they) agreed to maintain close communication and coordination going forward.”

South Korea is preparing to hold a summit with the North in late April. Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump accepted an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to a summit and proposed holding talks before the end of May.

Wallstrom shared the outcome of his meeting with the North Korean minister and also expressed an intent to keep playing a “constructive” role in ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, the ministry said.

After the Wallstrom-Ri meetings, the two sides made no mention of the proposed summits, but speculation arose that their discussions may have been aimed at laying the groundwork for a summit between the leaders of the U.S. and North Korea, given that Sweden serves as a communication channel for the U.S. in dealings with the North.

Sweden is a nonpermanent member of the UNSC and a member of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, which monitors the armistice on the Korean Peninsula. It also runs a diplomatic mission in North Korea. (Yonhap)