March 9, 2018 / 5:58 PM / in 5 months

North Korean foreign minister to visit Sweden, Swedish newspaper says

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will visit Sweden in the near future and meet with his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallstrom, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported on Friday, citing sources.

A Swedish foreign ministry spokesman and a spokesman for Wallstrom both declined to comment.

Sweden’s embassy in Pyongyang represents U.S. diplomatic interests in North Korea in the absence of U.S. diplomatic relations with the country.

The report comes after U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier on Friday he was prepared to hold an unprecedented meeting with Kim Jong Un following an invitation from the North Korean leader.

The United States has no formal diplomatic relations with North Korea, which has limited the options for the two sides to reduce tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

Sweden, however, was the first Western European nation to set up an embassy in Pyongyang, in 1975, and it has been acting on behalf of other western states in dealing with the secretive government in North Korea.

Sweden has been taking an increasingly active role in international talks related to North Korea behind the scenes Dagens Nyheter reported, citing sources.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, editing by Larry King

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