all eyes on north korea
The United States is engaged in direct talks with North Korean diplomats even as President Trump has publicly claimed negotiations are a waste of his secretary of state's time, Reuters reports. U.S. negotiator Joseph Yun has quietly been in conversation with officials in Pyongyang's United Nations mission, despite Trump's not infrequent threats against the country and its leader, Kim Jong Un.
Conversation between the U.S. and North Korea "has not been limited at all, both [in] frequency and substance," explained one senior State Department official.
Yun is a part of the so-called "New York channel" to North Korea. He initially worked specifically on freeing U.S. citizens held by Pyongyang. Yun, for example, traveled to North Korea in June to help return Otto Warmbier stateside. But Yun's mission "is [now] a broader mandate than that," the State Department official said.