Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui has arrived in Sweden to take part in roundtable talks, Sweden’s foreign ministry said on Friday, amid stepped-up international efforts to end the stand-off between the U.S. and the DPRK.
“The ministry of foreign affairs can confirm that Choe Son Hui has arrived in Sweden to take part in roundtable talks in a smaller format together with international experts,” a Swedish foreign ministry spokesman said.
A diplomatic source said the purpose of the meeting was to take steps forward in the relations between the U.S. and the DPRK after things “ground to a halt” following a landmark meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and the DPRK leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last year.
The source said earlier the talks had begun and had included Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for the DPRK. But a State Department official said Biegun was part of meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and DPRK’s lead negotiator, Kim Yong Chol, in Washington on Friday.
Kim Yong Chol’s visit is aimed at clearing the way for a second U.S.-DPRK summit and mark a rare sign of potential movement in a denuclearization effort that has stalled since the Singapore meeting.
The Swedish foreign ministry spokesman declined to say whether Biegun would be joining the talks in Sweden or whether the discussions had already begun.
The White House said Friday that the second summit between Trump and Kim “will take place near the end of February.”