US continues diplomatic engagement with N.Korea through 'New York channel'
US President Donald Trump has publicly said that talks with North Korea are a waste of time. However, his own administration is quietly pursuing direct diplomacy with North Korea through the latter's so-called "New York channel," referring to Pyongyang's permanent UN mission, Reuters has reported. Meanwhile, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in said his country would never tolerate the North as a nuclear state.
The US negotiator with North Korea, Joseph Yun has been in contact with diplomats stationed at the North's UN mission in New York. When the Trump presidency started, Yun's mandate was to secure the release of US prisoners, including jailed student Otto Warmbier, in which he was successful. He's now been entrusted with telling the North to "stop testing" nuclear bombs and missiles.
The "New York channel" is one of the last few means by which the US can continue communicating with North Korea, which itself has expressed little interest in serious talks. There's been no sign that Yun's talks have resulted in improved US-North Korea relations.
Meanwhile, the South Korean President Moon denounced the North's nuclear weapons and said his country would never "develop nuclear (weapons) or own them." His statement came after China and South Korea agreed to cast aside a year of strained relations over the South's decision to deploy a US-made anti-missile system. Both countries have normalized ties and vowed to work towards denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
North Korea's nuclear crisis will take center stage during Trump's upcoming Asia visit. It must be noted that Trump's threats to "totally destroy" North Korea and his decrying of diplomatic talks with the country have failed to de-escalate the situation. Amid rampant threats and counter threats of war between Washington and Pyongyang, diplomatic avenues such as the "New York channel" are even critical.