Stay TOONED: North Korea, Sweden Talks

Hannah Rogers
March 19, 2018

It gave no further details.

Japan's push for the issue was bolstered by a call earlier this month by the United Nations special rapporteur on North Korean human rights that any progress in the nuclear issue during a meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae In and Kim in late April and a Trump-Kim summit in May should be accompanied by talks to address the North's alleged human rights violations. His response triggered a race to set a credible agenda for what would be historic talks between the two leaders. The proposed summit with North Korea is slated to be held in May.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that the Central Intelligence Agency has taken the lead on organizing potential discussions between the US and North Korea through back channels -which potentially speaks to the tone intended-and highlighting Trump's trust in Pompeo and the State Department's diminished role in preparing for what many believe is the riskiest encounter between an American president and a foreign leader in decades.

Earlier reports had listed Choe among the North's delegation to Sweden.

But it was not clear if the fate of USA citizens who are held captive in North Korea was part of the discussions.

A high-level Blue House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Moon administration is now weighing the option of holding an extra Seoul-Washington summit between the Seoul-Pyongyang and Pyongyang-Washington summits, which are expected to take place in late April and before the end of May, respectively. The Scandinavian country's diplomatic mission opened there in 1975, the first Western embassy to be established in the hermit country.

Hundreds gather at St. Patrick's Day parade
Officials say this year, they've shaved off just over 1 mile. "(It) doesn't matter. On Saturday, final preparations and parking restrictions were put in place.

During North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Hos's visit to Stockholm this weekend, Sweden "engaged heavily" on the issue of the American prisoners, according to unnamed sources who spoke with CNN.

The upcoming meeting will be a "track 1.5 academic meeting ... involving representatives from North Korea, South Korea and the U.S.", Finnish foreign ministry official Kimmo Lahdevirta revealed to CNN.

"The foreign ministers discussed opportunities and challenges for continued diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict as well as bilateral relations", the Swedish foreign ministry said in a statement after Ri and Wallstrom wound up their talks.

The United States denies such plans.

But the ministry did not reveal specifically what the two ministers agreed on, raising the possibility that Sweden and North Korea were not able to come together on much or anything. It said that they also discussed regional security issues related to South Korea, Japan and the United States.

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