Sweden’s Foreign Minister calls US-North Korea agreement a ‘victory for diplomacy’

Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström on Tuesday described an agreement signed by the leaders of the US and North Korea as "a victory for diplomacy".

Sweden's Foreign Minister calls US-North Korea agreement a 'victory for diplomacy'
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands on Tuesday. Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci/TT

US President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in an historic summit in Singapore, where they signed a document including a pledge from Kim to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Some observers have criticized the agreement as vague in its wording, and Wallström said it was important that it lead to “concrete changes”, but described it nonetheless as a “clear victory for diplomacy”.

The Swedish Foreign Minister told reporters she was “optimistic but mildly sceptical” about the agreement, according to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

“It has been an exciting day of interesting results, and now comes the test, which is to implement this agreement and see what it contains in all its details,” the politician told SVT

“It's almost a miracle if you look back a year at how the insults and the war of words looked, and now they're affirming their friendship and respect for each other — so let's see,” she said.

JUST FOR MEMBERS: What exactly is Sweden doing in North Korea?

Wallström also commented on the summit on Twitter, writing: “Welcome US-DPRK agreement. Goal remains DPRK’s complete de-nuclearization and sustainable peace. Now words have to be translated into action. SE ready to support.”

Sweden has a long-standing relationship with North Korea, where it was the first Western country to open an embassy in the 1970s. The embassy today represents US, Canadian, and Australian diplomatic interests in the country.

Sweden is also one of the world's biggest givers of humanitarian aid to North Korea, and there are even Swedish soldiers at the Korean border as part of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission.

In May, Wallström met North Korea's Minister for Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-Ho in Stockholm, a development that at the time sparked discussion of whether the US-North Korea summit could take place in the Scandinavian nation.

READ ALSO: North Korea owes Sweden millions for Volvos from the 1970s

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Swedish prime minister seeks military help to crack down on gangs

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a televised speech that he would meet with the commander in chief of the military, among others, after a spate of violence that has claimed the lives of a growing number of children and bystanders.

Swedish prime minister seeks military help to crack down on gangs

Kristersson said he would meet on Friday with the national chief of police and commander in chief Micael Bydén “to see how the armed forces can help the police fight the gangs”.

The Scandinavian country has in recent years been in the grip of a bloody conflict between gangs fighting over arms and drug trafficking, which has escalated over vendettas between the gangs.


Apartment buildings and homes across the country are frequently rocked by explosions, and shootings in public places have become regular occurrences in the usually tranquil country.

“We are going to hunt down the gangs. We are going to defeat the gangs,” Kristersson said in a televised address to the nation on Thursday evening, after three people were killed in shootings and explosions overnight on Wednesday.

An 18-year-old man was shot dead at a crowded football pitch early Wednesday evening in a well-off Stockholm suburb, police said.

A second shooting took place around midnight in another Stockholm suburb, injuring two people, one of whom later died, police said, adding that three suspects had been arrested in that case.

Several hours later, an explosion near the university town of Uppsala, 70 kilometres north of Stockholm, damaged five homes and killed a woman in her mid-20s with no known connection to the gangs, according to police.

The surge in killings has shocked Swedes.

“Crime has reached unprecedented levels. The situation is very serious in Uppsala, and in the rest of the country,” Uppsala police official Catarina Bowall told reporters.

According to a tally by Swedish public television SVT, 12 people have been killed in shootings and explosions in September, the deadliest month in terms of fatal shootings in the past four years.

One of the dead was a 13-year-old boy whose body was found dumped in a wooded area. Prosecutors said they believed he was a victim of the gang violence.

“An increasing number of children and completely innocent people are affected by this extreme violence,” Kristersson said.

“Sweden has never seen anything like this. No other country in Europe is seeing anything like this.”

He said serious organised crime had risen over the past decade “due to naiveté”.

“An irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration led us here,” the conservative leader said.

“Swedish legislation was not designed for gang wars and child soldiers. But we’re changing that now,” he said.

He noted new legislation entering into force in the coming days enabling police to wiretap gangs, as well as plans for body searches in some areas, harsher sentences for repeat offenders and double sentences for certain crimes.

“We’ll put them on trial. If they are Swedish citizens they will be locked away with long prison sentences, and if they are foreigners they will be deported,” he said.

“We are going to deport foreigners who move in criminal gang circles even if they haven’t committed a crime,” he said.

He said Sweden also needed to introduce surveillance cameras in public places and build special prisons for teenage criminals.

In 2022, Sweden registered 391 shootings, 62 of which were fatal.