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President Niinistö: Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un welcome to Finland for talks promoting peace

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said he's pleased that Finland has been mentioned as a possible meeting ground for the US and North Korean leaders.

Sauli Niinistö
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on 28 April 2018 Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Finland would "warmly welcome" US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un for talks promoting peace, Finland's President Sauli Niinistö said in a television interview on Saturday.

"It's great that Finland has been mentioned in this context. But it is another matter where the talks will eventually take place. I doubt anyone knows that yet," Niinistö said.

His comment was in response to speculation from news outlets in the United States that Finland might be one of the meeting places under consideration. Trump himself confirmed on Friday that two or three locations are still in the running, but did not mention them by name.

Finland's chances might be better than the rest in that preliminary talks on "building confidence and reducing tensions" on the Korean Peninsula already quietly took place at the Königstedt Manor in Vantaa this March. North Korean, South Korean and US representatives were in attendance at the state venue near Helsinki, along with observers from the United Nations and Europe.

Niinistö said things seem to be looking up in terms of Korean relations, citing Friday's border meeting between South and North Korean leaders. As the first meeting of this kind in decades, he said it was a significant event.

The Finnish President warned however that although things look convivial now, things can change quickly in the fast-moving world of international politics.

"Let's hope this positive trend will continue," he said.

Questioning "crude talk"

The Korean leaders pledged on Friday to end the formal state of war that has persisted between their nations for almost 70 years, although no concrete plans were made, for example, to dismantle Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

Niinistö said on Saturday that there is still a long journey ahead before a genuine peace agreement can be brokered.

"The situation grew inflamed earlier in the year. It could be that everyone just kind of sat up and noticed that things were getting out of hand. I hope this is the case," he said in his Yle interview.

The Finnish President says a potential meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is even more remarkable because of the unorthodox belligerent rhetoric that came from both leaders earlier in the year.

"We were all taken aback by the tone. You have to ask yourself whether crude talk like that really is effective in this day and age," Niinistö said.

Edited at 2:09 pm to reflect Trump's Friday statement that the list has been narrowed down to two or three locations.

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