losangelesnewstoday.com June 18, 2018

Trump, Moon express 'cautious optimism' over North Korea summit

19 March 2018, 12:19 | Maryann Sutton

Flurry of activity as Seoul gears up for summit

Sweden says happy to help on N.Korea, amid summit speculation

Tokyo's insistence on including discussion of the abductions by North Korean agents could cause friction between Japan, South Korea and the United States if Seoul or Washington were willing to cut a denuclearisation deal with Pyongyang separate from any abduction pact.

Trump rattled the worldwide community and his own administration last week when he quickly accepted North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to meet.

"We'll see what happens next", Wallstrom said.

Sweden's foreign minister held what she called "good and constructive" talks with her North Korean counterpart on Friday amid growing speculation about a possible meeting in the Scandinavian country between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

It is one of the few western states with a diplomatic channel to the North Korean leadership and may be able to smooth out obstacles in the path of a summit meeting.

The Swedish foreign ministry said ahead of his visit that talks would focus on "Sweden's consular responsibilities as a protecting power for the United States, Canada and Australia", but would also address the security situation on the Korean peninsula.

Trump and Moon spoke by phone on Friday.

Sweden has longstanding ties with North Korea.

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Ri made no comment as he left.

Trump and President Moon Jae-in discussed preparations for their upcoming engagements with North Korea and agreed that "concrete actions" were the key to achieving denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.

Finland's STT news agency said North Korean representatives will be conducting negotiations tomorrow at the Japanese Embassy in Helsinki, adding no American officials would be involved in the low-level meeting.

Ri's delegation included Choe Kang Il, deputy director general of the foreign ministry's North America section.

A South Korean government official earlier dismissed chances for contact between the USA and North Korea in Sweden, saying that Ri's visit must be meant to strengthen ties with the European country.

Abe was quoted by Nishimura as telling Moon that Japan "will seek to normalize diplomatic relations (with North Korea) by comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern, including the nuclear and missile development as well as the abductions, based on the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration" signed in 2002.

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.

They were apparently referring to the failure to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear development program.

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