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(2nd LD) S. Korea's nuclear envoy may visit Sweden for talks with N. Korea: source

Diplomacy 21:30 January 18, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS more info in 6th para)

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's chief nuclear envoy appears to be on his way to Sweden for a possible meeting with a senior North Korean official, a diplomatic source said Friday.

Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, seems to have left for Stockholm, where a government-civilian security forum, often called Track 1.5 session, is to take place, the source added.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui earlier arrived in the Swedish capital from Beijing to attend the forum.

There's a possibility that Stephen Biegun, Washington's special representative for Pyongyang, will visit there as well. If he meets Choe, it would be their first meeting since Biegun took his job in August.

"Either bilateral or multilateral meetings can be held if all the three officials are present there," the source said.

Reuters reported that high-ranking diplomats from North Korea and the U.S. are meeting in Stockholm. Citing a local daily, it also said that the meeting will continue over the weekend.

The meeting comes as a senior North Korean official earlier arrived in Washington D.C. for high-level talks with the U.S.

Kim Yong-chol, known as a right-hand man to leader Kim Jong-un, flew into the city earlier Friday. He's expected to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the following day, although the two sides have yet to announce a schedule.

If held, the meeting would be aimed at hammering out a deal on a planned second summit.

South Korean government officials refused to confirm whether Lee is en route to Sweden.

Lee has cancelled all evening schedules in Seoul and his mobile phone is off.


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