Former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs said that United States is involved in informal talks with representatives of North Korea, though no diplomatic breakthrough has been reached yet.
“Without reference to the confirmation of any particular meeting or not, I think that it’s clear to say that we have engaged in ‘track two’ discussions [informal meetings between the representatives of state and non-state actors] with North Koreans, the ones they’ve talked about. My own view is that they have been useful, but they have not led to any instant diplomatic breakthrough,” Thomas Pickering, who is also a former US Ambassador to Russia, told Ria Navosti.
He stressed the importance of diplomatic and informal contacts by saying: “Sometimes ‘track two’ contacts are useful to the parties as a way of exchanging ideas and opening the door to new ways of thinking about the problem. ‘Track two’ discussions that I’ve been engaged in have involved briefings of the US government before and after the discussions have taken place. It’s not an effort to supplant the government or to replace, but to try to help them understand… what’s going on.”
In May, the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s bureau chief for North America, Choi Sun Hee, said she had met with Pickering, not ruling out the possibility of bilateral contacts with the United States “under the right circumstances.”
Last week, the broadcaster NHK reported that Evans Revere, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, had met with Choe Kang Il, the deputy director general for North American affairs at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, on the sidelines of the international conference on security issues in Northeast Asia in Switzerland. No details of the meeting were disclosed though.