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Kono seeks U.S. help over abduction issue ahead of Trump-Kim summit

18 March 2018

Officials of South Korea are preparing for a possible summit with the North, probably next month. "They will also address the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, which is high on the Security Council agenda".

The foreign minister's father, Ri Myong-je was close to former leader Kim Jong-il and served as a deputy director of the North's Organization and Guidance Department, which oversees the appointment of key management positions, and also as an editor at the state-run KCNA. "With the trust we enjoy, we think we can play a role, but it has to be the main actors who decide which role Sweden will play".

Kang's arrival in Washington came just 48 hours after President Donald Trump fired his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

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With Moon focusing on the need to demonstrate the strength of the alliance at a critical time for the security of Northeast Asia, Trump expressed hope that South Korea will show some flexibility in upcoming negotiations on the two countries' bilateral free trade agreement. Sweden is now a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

"We believe in dialogue and in a political process", Wallstrom told reporters.

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.

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According to Swedish broadcaster SVT, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) will sit in on the meetings with Ri's delegation to analyze the North's intentions to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang, which opened in 1975, was the first Western embassy established in the country.

Abe met South Korean National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon on Tuesday to discuss a summit between Trump and Kim by the end of May.

Ivanka Trump sat down Thursday with South Korea's foreign minister for a meeting whose goal remains a mystery.

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"We've chose to narrow down the agenda topics to denuclearising the Korean peninsula, securing permanent peace to ease military tension and new, bold ways to take inter-Korean relations forward", said Im, who is head of the preparation team.

Kono seeks U.S. help over abduction issue ahead of Trump-Kim summit