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Senior Japan, US diplomats to discuss N. Korea in Sweden

Stephen Biegun (L) and Kenji Kanasugi (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Senior Japanese and U.S. diplomats will discuss North Korea when they meet in Sweden, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday, as Washington and Pyongyang prepare for a second summit next month.

Kenji Kanasugi, director general of the ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, hopes to be updated on arrangements for the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his talks with Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea.

Biegun and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui have already arrived in Sweden to hold working-level talks for the upcoming summit on the sidelines of an international meeting to run through Tuesday.

The White House said Friday that Trump will hold a second summit with Kim "near the end of February" at a location to be announced at a later date.

The announcement came after Trump met with Kim Yong Chol, a close aide to the North Korean leader, in the Oval Office.

The United States and North Korea have remained apart over the process for Pyongyang to scrap its weapons programs despite Kim pledging to work toward "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in the first-ever summit between the two countries last June in Singapore.

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