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Sweden helping negotiate release of Americans in North Korea: report

Sweden helping negotiate release of Americans in North Korea: report
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Sweden is in talks with North Korea to negotiate the release of three American citizens being held hostage by the government in Pyongyang, CNN reported Sunday.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is reportedly in Stockholm to talk with his Swedish counterpart, with the subject of the American detainees at the forefront.

Sweden is a protecting power for the U.S., and represents U.S. interests in talks with Pyongyang since the U.S. does not have a diplomatic presence in North Korea. 

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Two of the Americans, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang-duk were detained in North Korea last year on suspicion of “hostile acts.” They both worked at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, CNN reported.

The third, Kim Dong Chul, was arrested in 2015 on espionage charges.

Swedish efforts to negotiate on America's behalf come as President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE is preparing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A South Korean official announced last week that Trump had accepted an invitation from Kim to meet by May. The White House said the meeting wouldn’t happen “until we see concrete actions that match the words and the rhetoric of North Korea," but later clarified that the administration "fully expects" the meeting to take place.

The planned meeting comes after months of increased tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Both country's leaders repeatedly traded insults, while the U.S. also announced new sanctions on North Korea and Pyongyang claimed a successful missile test.