North Korea denuclearisation not on the agenda in Helsinki talks, Finland says

Timo Soini

Speaking in an interview with MTV broadcaster, Soini said Pyongyang's nuclear programs were not on the table.

North Korean diplomats are meeting representatives from the United States and South Korea in Finland for talks on security.

Kim Yo Jong (centre back) with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un (front).

Finnish broadcaster YLE said the meeting kicked off with a dinner Monday in a Helsinki restaurant where the delegations were seen arriving. South Korea says Kim proposed meeting with Trump, who agreed to meet him by the end of May.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, following her talks with North Korea's Minister Ri, said on Monday that the release of three Americans detained in North Korea should not be a condition for the planned summit between Trump and Kim, Reuters reported.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the gathering would be similar to the so-called "Track 2" dialogue that has involved North Korean officials and former US officials and experts.

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The American delegation reportedly included two former ambassadors to Seoul, Kathleen Stephens and Thomas Hubbard.

No information from the closely-guarded talks was divulged, according to Reuters, but the South Korean delegate Kim Joon-Hyung, professor of worldwide politics from Handong Global University, called the talks "productive".

Informal talks held in Finland between North Korean, South Korean and USA delegates ended on Wednesday (Mar 21), the Finnish foreign ministry said, describing the talks as constructive. Those meetings concluded last Saturday. South Korean media outlets reported that North Korean officials were trusting of Seoul in discussions about their summit but approached the topic of the USA meeting with caution.

But they are believed to be explaining their respective views on making the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free.

"The meeting has been planned well in advance of recent promising developments related to the Korean situation", the ministry said in a statement. His visit to South Korea had raised prospects about possible contact between the USA and North Korea.

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