North Korea’s foreign minister has travelled to Sweden, fuelling speculation that Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un could take place in the country.
Ri Yong Ho landed at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport from Beijing on Thursday and spent several hours meeting his Swedish counterpart before returning to the North Korean embassy.
On Friday, he met Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and is expected to hold further discussions with the foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom.
“They had a meeting. We will not disclose what they talked about,” Mr Lofven’s spokesman told the AFP news agency.
Sweden has had diplomatic relations with North Korea since 1973 and is one of the few Western countries with an embassy in Pyongyang.
It also provides consular services for the United States in North Korea.
President Trump has agreed to meet Kim Jong Un by May, with Sweden rumoured as a possible location.
There is speculation that the foreign minister’s visit is to lay the groundwork for Trump-Kim talks in the country, or that Sweden is helping set up the summit elsewhere.
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.
It added that a statement summarising the talks would be made on Friday, but did not comment on whether it was involved in brokering the talks between North Korea and America.
The meeting between the two countries is in the works after a surprise about-turn by Kim Jong Un in offering talks with Donald Trump.
The US President – who in the past traded insults with the North Korean leader – has accepted the offer and hailed the “great progress” being made in agreeing to the summit.
North Korea has ignored international condemnation to pursue its nuclear programme and launch missile tests. However, it has pledged to halt these tests while talks with America are ongoing.