Sweden says happy to help on North Korea, amid summit speculation

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Earlier this week, South Korean envoy Suh Hoon visited Tokyo to brief Japan's leadership on the fast-moving diplomatic process that saw an announcement last week of a historic US-North Korea summit to discuss Pyongyang's denuclearisation.

Adm. Harry Harris, who oversees US military operations in the Indo-Pacific, said Thursday that "we can't be overly optimistic on outcomes" when it comes to the recently announced summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Swedish foreign ministry said their talks with the North Korea nminister 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.

Ri's talks with Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom are expected to resume on Friday.

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Japan is likely to seek US assurance its interests won't be overlooked in any deal-making over the North's nuclear and missile programs at the summit.

"But we are not naive in believing we can solve the world's problems". The Moon administration also has a domestic reason to play up the results of the meeting in Pyongyang, having weathered criticism from opposition parties about Moon "appeasing" North Korea. But we've already built an analytic infrastructure and policymakers are furiously trying to plan next steps based on a possibly incomplete or false rendering of what happened in Pyongyang.

USA and South Korean negotiators met last week in Hawaii to begin what are expected to be contentious cost-sharing talks as the current special measures agreement is set to expire on December 31. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (ousted from his post on Tuesday and replaced by Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo) was reportedly "blindsided", having said only a few hours earlier that negotiations were a "long way" off.

Some Swedish and foreign media have said Ri will stay in the Scandinavian country until Sunday for other talks, though Swedish officials would not confirm those reports.

North Korean minister's visit to Sweden fuels speculation over Trump talks
Trump accepted an invitation from Kim when a South Korean delegation delivered it verbally in Washington. North Korea also has an embassy in Stockholm, in the leafy residential suburb of Lidingo.

The building is close to the embassies of South Korea and the US. According to a White House statement, the allied leaders "agreed that concrete actions, not words, will be the key to achieving permanent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". Furthermore, there is discussion that Trump's national security advisor, General H.R. McMaster, is also on the way out, possibly to be replaced by John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush.

A source familiar with the matter declined to comment but told Reuters the bilateral talks would end on Friday.

Im added Moon may meet Trump after the inter-Korean summit but before Trump's planned summit with Kim in May.

There has been no official word from North Korea since the invitation was delivered via South Korean officials in Washington. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, if he thought that progress with North Korea would be slow and that "the likelihood of a total complete agreement in one or two meetings is doubtful", Harris responded by noting the unprecedented nature of the summit.

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As long as relations with the United States are on an upward trajectory, the Moon-Kim summit will be cordial and North Korea will make some modest concessions and that cordiality will go on into the summer and beyond.

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