Exclusive: A diplomatic source says the United States is negotiating directly with North Korean officials over its nuclear ambitions, despite past assertions by President Donald Trump that such efforts were ''wasting'' time. Matthew Larotonda reports.
A diplomatic source has confirmed that the US government is negotiating directly with North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, despite President Donald Trump stating that such efforts were a waste of time. A senior State Department official telling Reuters that Joseph Yun, a U.S. diplomat, has been quietly speaking with North Korea's representatives to the United Nations. The so-called, "New York channel" is generally reserved for discussions outside the nuclear program, such as the release of hostages. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson first revealed in early October that the administration was engaging North Korea directly, but his comments were smacked down by the president that same day. Trump taking to Twitter to say Tillerson was, quote, "wasting his time" and that he should "save" his energy. This, combined with Trump's mocking of Kim Jong Un as "Little Rocket Man" led to speculation that the effort was going to be curtailed. Tillerson later said diplomatic efforts would continue, though it wasn't clear exactly how. Reuters' source now says that Yun's mission hasn't been curbed in any way. What's unknown is whether it's produced any results, and the official says that the president's threats against Pyongyang only seem to have complicated the effort. Trump is scheduled to begin a trip to Asia on Friday (November 3), including South Korea.