White House: Sweden has been requesting Americans’ release from N. Korea
Sweden has consistently worked on behalf of the United States to request the release of three Americans detained in North Korea, a White House official said Sunday.
CNN reported that the issue of the detainees was discussed in depth during last week's meetings in Stockholm between top North Korean and Swedish diplomats.
"Sweden is our protecting power, so they naturally make these requests for us, and have been doing so," the National Security Council official told Yonhap on background.
Sweden serves as an intermediary between the U.S. and North Korea as the two do not have diplomatic relations with each other.
The three American detainees -- Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song -- have been accused of espionage or "hostile acts."
The meetings in Stockholm raised the possibility Pyongyang was preparing to hold a planned summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in the Nordic country.
Meanwhile, another North Korean diplomat left for Helsinki, Finland this weekend to participate in informal talks with representatives from South Korea and the U.S.
"I don't have any information on this meeting," a State Department spokesperson said in response to a Yonhap request for comment. "Track 2 meetings are routinely held on a variety of topics around the world and occur independent of U.S. government involvement."
Source: Yonhap News Agency