NKorea Envoy Heads to Finland for Talks03/18 10:14
A senior North Korean diplomat who handles North American affairs was
heading to Finland on Sunday for talks with the United States and South Korea.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A senior North Korean diplomat who handles North
American affairs was heading to Finland on Sunday for talks with the United
States and South Korea.
Choe Kang Il's trip comes ahead of a possible meeting between President
Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Choe was seen at a Beijing airport on
Sunday before boarding a flight to Finland. The report cited unnamed
"diplomatic sources" in Seoul as saying Choe would take part in a meeting with
former U.S. diplomats, including former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen
Stephens, and South Korean security experts.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the gathering would be similar to the
so-called "Track 2" dialogue that has involved North Korean officials and
former U.S. officials and experts. It gave no further details.
Choe was in the delegation North Korea sent to last month's Winter Olympics
in South Korea.
On Saturday, Sweden's foreign minister concluded three days of talks in
Stockholm with her North Korean counterpart, saying they discussed the
"opportunities and challenges for continued diplomatic efforts to reach a
peaceful solution" to the Koreas' security dispute.
Sweden has been rumored as a possible site for a U.S.-North Korea summit,
though a truce village on the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone
between the Koreas is seen as more likely.
Trump has agreed to meet Kim by May. So far, North Korea has yet to comment
publicly on what it hopes to gain from the talks.
Senior South Korean officials who traveled to the North Korean capital of
Pyongyang this month and met with Kim say he is willing to discuss the North's
nuclear weapons program.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is due to meet with Kim in April.