The United States quietly pursuing diplomacy with North Korea despite Trump rhetoric: Report

November 1, 2017 10:04 pm

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, on October 27, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The is quietly pursuing direct diplomacy with despite US President Donald Trump’s public assertion that such talks are a waste of time, according to a report.
Joseph Yun, US negotiator with North Korea, has been in contact with diplomats at Pyongyang’s United Nations mission in New York City, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing a senior official from the US State Department.
The report comes at a time when an exchange of insults between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has fueled fears of a military conflict.
“It has not been limited at all, both (in) frequency and substance,” said the senior State Department official.
Among the points that Yun has made to his North Korean interlocutors is to “stop testing” nuclear weapons and missiles, the official said.
The official’s comments were the clearest sign that Washington was directly discussing issues with Pyongyang beyond the release of American prisoners, despite Trump having dismissed direct talks as pointless.
However, despite the reported dialogue, there does not appear to be an improvement in relations between the US and North Korea.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis warned last week during a visit to South Korea that the threat from North Korea had “accelerated” and warned of a “massive military response” if Pyongyang uses nuclear weapons against Washington or its allies.
Trump, who has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary, leaves on his first trip to Asia next week, including a stop in South Korea to meet President Moon Jae-in.
A CNN poll released this month found that Americans are growing more concerned about how Trump is handling the escalating situation. More than six in 10 say Trump’s responses to North Korea’s threats have been more reckless than responsible.
An NBC /SurveyMonkey survey released Wednesday showed that 72 percent of surveyed Americans fear the US will get involved in a major war, possibly with North Korea, during Trump’s first term in office.
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