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North Korea, US representatives to meet in Finland

North Korea, US representatives to meet in Finland

Representatives of North Korea, South Korea and the United States are set to meet in Finland for talks on denuclearization, according to South Korean and Finnish officials.

The North Korea talks in Finland will include American representatives who are not government officials, said Kimmo Lahdevirta, an official at the Finland foreign ministry. The US does not have a diplomatic presence in North Korea.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry told CNN that former officials and private experts from South Korea would be at the “second-tier” talks on denuclearization. The ministry suggested the US would also be represented in some way, without giving details.
Lahdevirta described the meeting as a “track 1.5 academic meeting … involving representatives from North Korea, South Korea and the US.”
So-called “track 1.5 talks” bring together a mixture of current government officials and nongovernmental experts.
Lahdevirta said no current US government officials will be participating. He could not say who was coming from North or South Korea.

However, a top North Korean official was spotted apparently boarding a plane to Finland on Sunday.
Choe Kang Il, the deputy director general for North American affairs at North Korea’s foreign ministry, brushed off questions from reporters at Beijing Capital International Airport, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
Finland’s Foreign Ministry told CNN the country was only facilitating the meeting — not participating.
Ministry spokeswoman Petra Sarias declined to confirm the meeting’s date, time, location or participants.
Neither Sarias nor Lahdevirta specified that the talks were about denuclearization. Neither one would say if there would be any public statement after the meeting from any of the participants.