Trump re-affirms plan to meet Kim Jong Un

NKorean diplomat heads to Finland for talks with US, SKorea

Letter: Trump's negotiation attempts with North Korea are laudable

The meeting, part of Kono's three-day trip to Washington through Saturday, comes as U.S. President Donald Trump agreed last week to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by the end of May in an effort to achieve "permanent denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula.

In a meeting with Mattis at the Pentagon, Kono said North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, as well as the abduction issue, must be resolved comprehensively, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

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"Both sides agreed that the announcement of a meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is a historic opportunity and evidence that the global maximum pressure campaign is working and must remain in effect", she said, referring to economic and diplomatic sanctions on the North. -North Korea summit would be a good confidence-building measure.

"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. Lofven pointed out that Sweden is not militarily aligned and has had a long-standing presence in North Korea, but added that the main players had to "decide which role Sweden will play". Officials of South Korea are preparing for a possible summit with the North, probably next month. Donald Trump expressed his thanks to Stefan Lofven at a news conference in Washington last week. "We've said that we can provide - we can be a channel or do whatever we can to see that the dialogue is smooth".

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Sweden acts as diplomatic representative in North Korea for the United States, which has no embassy there, and has helped with the release of U.S. citizens held by the reclusive state. Its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang, which opened in 1975, was the first Western embassy established in the country.

Kono and Mattis agreed that through a planned USA visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for talks with Trump in early April, the two allies will closely coordinate on issues related to North Korea, including a first-ever U.S.

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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.

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