Top diplomats from US, South Korea meet

Stephan  Flickr

Stephan Flickr

South Korea planned to officially propose to the DPRK holding the talks, Im said after convening the first meeting of the presidential committee to prepare for the summit between President Moon and the DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un.

It has consented to host the meeting, as confirmed by Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallstrom.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump appeared to hint at withdrawing USA troops stationed in South Korea if Seoul failed to address its trade deficit with Washington.

It further said that South Korean President Moon Jae-in may meet Donald Trump before the U.S. president's planned meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

At a news conference in Washington last week, Trump thanked Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven for helping American detainees in North Korea and particularly in securing the release of U.S. student Otto Warmbier previous year.

Kim is reportedly committed to denuclearization, but doubts persist as to whether he is serious about giving up the North's nuclear weapons.

"We are hoping that if we can use our role and also our contacts, then we will put them to the best use".

The Swedish Foreign Ministry said the meeting with Ri Yong-ho would focus on "Sweden's consular responsibilities as a protecting power for the United States, Canada and Australia" and also address "the security situation on the Korean peninsula", according to The Guardian.

Swedish public broadcaster SVT meanwhile said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) was involved in the talks, though SIPRI did not return AFP's calls for a comment. "North Korea summit to be held by May will be an important turning point", Kang told reporters after the meeting.

Sweden is an obvious choice for the historic summit meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Sweden has maintained an embassy in Pyongyang since 1973.

Last week, Lofven held a summit with Trump in Washington, where the North Korea issue was discussed.

In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Kang and Sullivan reaffirmed that the two countries' alliance is "the lynchpin of stability and security in the region", particularly in light of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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