Korean minister in 'constructive' talks in Sweden

Stefan Lofven. | AP

Stefan Lofven. | AP

"We are a country that is militarily non-aligned and have a longstanding presence in North Korea", he said.

The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States agreed Friday to maintain close coordination as both nations prepare for summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"If we can use our contacts in the best way, we will do so", she said, noting the situation on the Korean peninsula was "of interest to us all" in terms of security.

"Even when US President Donald Trump said he was ready to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-in and settle all the problems, US presidential administration officials rushed to say that further pressure on Pyongyang was needed as it had backed down", he said in an interview with the Vietnamese and Japanese media ahead of his visits to these countries. During Ri's meeting with the prime minister, they also discussed confidence-building measures with the U.S., including the release of American citizens from detention in North Korea. Sweden is now a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

"We have a very big trade with them, and we protect them", Mr Trump said in an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post.

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It added that the council has also "emphasized the need for intensified diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict" and underscored that the "aim of the visit is to contribute to the effective implementation of the resolutions".

Japan has been more guarded about those talks than South Korea, and wants any discussion to include ways to resolve a dispute over the return of those abducted by North Korean agents. In 1975 Sweden opened its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, South Korea will seek to send its art troupe and demonstration team of Taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial art, to Pyongyang in early April as agreed upon.

The call for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula has also been supported by China and France who have stated it to help in achieving "peace and stability".

Earlier, Moon's chief of staff, Im Jong-Seok, said proposed North-South talks in late March would cover key agenda topics and other details of the pending summit between Moon and Kim.

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