By Elise Labott
In the days before North Korea’s latest round of threats and provocations, US and North Korean officials met in New York, although nothing came of the meeting, said a source familiar with what transpired. The source described the meeting as part of regular backchannel exchanges between the countries.
Clifford Hart, the US envoy for six party talks aimed at North Korean denuclearization, met with North Korea’s Deputy UN Ambassador Han Song-ryol in mid March, according to the source.
Hart repeated the Obama administration’s call for North Korea to avoid provocative actions and urged a return to diplomacy. Han promised to communicate the message back to Pyongyang, the source said.
The meeting was held as part of the so-called “New York channel,” a backchannel typically used to communicate and pass messages between Washington and Pyongyang in the absence of normal relations. In February, North Korea used the New York channel to warn the State Department about its third nuclear test.
The meeting was first reported by the Foreign Policy magazine blog, The Cable.