China, Russia hail Korean peace bid with diplomacy in overdrive

SEOUL: China’s President Xi Jinping offered encouragement for South Korea’s initiative to nurture peaceful engagement with North Korea, and Russia also expressed support, the South Korean official leading diplomatic efforts said on Thursday. During the past week, National Security Office head Chung Eui-Yong briefed officials in Beijing and Moscow following his dramatic success in arranging summits between the North Korean, South Korean and US leaders.
“Xi Jinping offered a Chinese phrase that says ‘once hard ice melts, spring comes and flowers bloom’ to describe the situation on the Korean peninsula and expressed his willingness to support the current situation,” Chung told reporters on his return to Incheon International Airport.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told the South Korean delegation led by Chung that he was open to addressing denuclearising with the United States, an offer that led to US President Trump agreeing to meet Kim for a summit expected to happen sometime in May.
On Thursday, North Korea’s foreign minister was on way to visit Sweden, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said, prompting speculation that the two-day trip could lay the groundwork for a mooted meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho was due to discuss with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom the security situation on the Korean peninsula and Sweden’s representation of the United States, which has no embassy in Pyongyang, the ministry said.
Sweden, which is not a member of the US-led Nato military alliance, has been mentioned as a possible location for a possible face-to-face meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un.
“If it is the case that the main players want Sweden to play a role, to facilitate, to be a forum or a link or whatever else, we are prepared to do that,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told Swedish news agency TT. — Reuters