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North Korea's foreign minister held talks with Swedish officials on Friday amid reports the Scandinavian nation could help pave the way for a proposed summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. They also agreed that a "brighter future is available for North Korea, if it chooses the right path", the White House stated.
Subsequently, South Korean officials met Kim last week and relayed to Washington that the North Korean dictator was committed to "denuclearization" and willing to halt nuclear and missile tests, which tempted Trump to agree to talk.
Pompeo has engaged with counterparts through a channel that runs between the Central Intelligence Agency. and North Korean counterpart, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.
Japanese broadcaster TBS said Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Moon discussed North Korea in a telephone call on Friday.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that the USA was not sending officials to Sweden and did not see the meeting as a prelude to North Korea and the U.S. talking.
The planning is at "a very early stage", the official said.
Unlike the United States, Sweden has maintained ties to North Korea and has an embassy in Pyongyang.
"We value this opportunity to arrange a meeting", she said without specifying to what she was referring.
"We can't rule out the possibility of a contact between the North and the US" during Ri's visit, a Beijing source told South Korea's Yonhap agency. Ivanka Trump had "the appropriate access to the president", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the time when asked if she had appropriate security clearance.
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"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", Mr Lofven said.
Though Noh did not disclose what would be discussed at the meeting, reports suggested it wiould involve planning for summits between the US and North Korea, and between North and South Korea.
Ri's surprise trip to Stockholm has taken on added significance due to the expectation that a summit of Kim and Trump could defuse the tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
North Korea's state media has yet to comment on the content of Kim's meeting with the South Koreans, but North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho arrived in Sweden this week for talks with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom, prompting speculation he could lay the groundwork for a Trump-Kim summit. He declined to give further information.
The ministry said ahead of the North Korean diplomat's visit that his meetings with Wallstrom would focus on "Sweden's consular responsibilities as a protecting power for the United States, Canada and Australia", but also would address the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.
James Schoff, a former Pentagon adviser on East Asia, said Japanese officials are unnerved by Trump's unpredictability and fear that the USA could reach a deal with Kim on long-range North Korean missiles that threaten the US without addressing the shorter-range weapons that threaten Japan.
"The talks with North Korea are extended". Kang and Kono, both of whom are on three-day visits to the USA, will meet Saturday in Washington.
The abrupt decision to accept the summit has triggered much skepticism from Korea observers but, after his call with Moon, Trump's White House remained cautiously optimistic that his strategy of making military threats backed by crippling real-world sanctions had forced Kim's hand.
The agenda of the talks was broadened, the report said.