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US has been conducting back-channel talks with North Korea for months

Published: August 12, 2017
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Source: ABC News

Despite the bombastic rhetoric exchanged between North Korean and American leaders this week, the Trump administration has been quietly engaged in back-channel diplomacy with North Korea for several months, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The ongoing talks, which were first reported by The Associated Press, included discussions about U.S.-North Korean relations and Americans imprisoned in North Korea, the source said.

The case of American student Otto Warmbier, who died following his release from North Korea, was included in those talks.

The U.S. State Department did not comment on the AP report.

Despite White House condemnations after Warmbier’s death, those contacts have continued and include discussions about the remaining Americans held there, the source said.

According to the source, the talks are being held between Ambassador Joseph Yun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, and Pak Song Il, a senior North Korean diplomat at the country's U.N. mission, using what’s known as the “New York channel,” which has been an avenue of communication between the U.S. and North Korea throughout the years.

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