North Korea’s Foreign Minister Mr. Ri Yong-ho surprised the world yesterday evening by showing up in Sweden for talks with his counterpart Ms. Margot Wallstrom. Then today he attended talks in the Swedish capital Stockholm with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven as more and more people now expect the Trump Kim meeting to be held in the Swedish capital.
The official word from Pyongyang was that Mr. Ri Yong-ho's trip was for "bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern".
Due to its known role as a peace negotiator in between countries faced with ‘difficult’ relationships and being home to the Nobel prizes, Sweden seems like a logical choice to organize the long-awaited meeting between Washington and Pyongyang.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">North Korea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-Ho will visit Sweden on 15–16 March. Talks will focus on Sweden’s consular responsibilities as protecting power for the United States, Canada and Australia + security situation on the Korean Peninsula. <a href="https://t.co/MvmFOayJhB">https://t.co/MvmFOayJhB</a></p>— Margot Wallström (@margotwallstrom) <a href="https://twitter.com/margotwallstrom/status/974192174739927040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 15, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Sweden's foreign ministry said on Ms. Wallstrom’s behalf that their discussions would mostly focus on easing tensions between the two Koreas as well as a continuation of Sweden's diplomatic work on behalf of the US in dealing with the government of Kim Jung-Un.
Given that Mr. Ri's visit was extended from the previously planned two days and he will now stay in Sweden until Sunday, many believe the group is scouting for possible meeting venues that can be secured.
Sweden's prime minister Mr. Stefan Lofven said: "if the main actors want Sweden to play a role then we are ready to do that".
"We are a country that is militarily non-aligned and have a longstanding presence in North Korea, and with the trust, we enjoy we think we can play a role. But it has to be the main actors who decide which role Sweden will play."