WASHINGTON, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked his Swedish counterpart Monday for the Nordic country’s work on behalf of American interests in North Korea.

Pompeo met with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom in Washington and discussed various issues, including an upcoming Arctic Council meeting in Finland and “developments in North Korea,” the State Department said in a statement.

“The Secretary reiterated the United States’ appreciation for the role Sweden plays as our protecting power in North Korea,” it said.

Sweden provides consular assistance to Americans in North Korea and serves as a liaison channel between the countries, which have yet to establish diplomatic ties.

In November, Pompeo thanked Wallstrom for Sweden’s help in securing the release of a U.S. citizen from the North. The man, identified as Bruce Byron Lowrance, was deported after illegally entering the country via China.

Source: Yonhap news Agency