A historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is in the making, and Sweden may get the distinction of hosting the high-profile rendezvous, the daily newspaper Aftonbladet reported.
Speculations about Sweden playing host for the potentially epoch-making meeting, which has already been compared to that between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, have taken off since Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven offered his help as mediator during his recent US visit.
Sweden is one of the few states in the world to have an embassy in North Korea. The Swedish embassy in Pyongyang was established in 1975, and until 2001 Sweden was the only EU country with an embassy in the city. Furthermore, Sweden has acted on behalf of a number of nations that lack diplomatic representation in North Korea, including its fellow Nordic countries, Canada, Australia and, most importantly, the US.
"This has given us a position and a relationship with North Korea in which we feel they trust us," Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said, as quoted by the daily newspaper Sydsvenskan.
Löfven also said that the Swedish government will gladly help arrange a meeting between the US and North Korea, if asked to mediate.
Löfven also received a lot of praise from Trump for Stockholm's efforts to negotiate the release of US student Otto Warmbier, who was arrested for stealing propaganda material during a 2016 trip to Pyongyang.
To further fuel the international public's expectations, North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho will shortly come to Sweden for a meeting with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström, the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported. The visit is seen as highly unusual, as Ri Yong-ho makes very few official trips abroad.
Last week, President Trump surprised much of the world by announcing he had agreed to talk with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a historic meeting by May. The move came after both leaders had spent much of last year trading insults and threats of a nuclear standoff.
The deal with North Korea is very much in the making and will be, if completed, a very good one for the World. Time and place to be determined.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 10 марта 2018 г.
Meanwhile, Switzerland, Mongolia and the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas have been named as possible alternatives to Sweden as venues for the Trump-Kim negotiations.
The fact that Switzerland has been named among the conceivable alternatives is based on the belief that Kim Jong-un allegedly attended school there. However, he has not set foot outside North Korea since becoming its leader in 2011, which, according to Aftonbladet, deflates the chances of the negotiations being held in Europe.