Report: Washington and Pyongyang engaged in back-channel diplomacy

The Associated Press reported on Friday that even though the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang continues, representatives from both the countries are engaged in back-channel diplomacy in an attempt to end to the rising tensions. If the communications yield success, the leaders of the two countries may soon be conducting direct negotiations.

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Amid the growing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, it appears that an effort to reach a diplomatic solution is underway. The Associated Press reported on Friday that the Trump administration has been engaged in back-channel diplomacy with North Korea over the past few months in an attempt to resolve the issues between the sides.

It was known that the countries were engaged in talks when the US was trying to bring about the release of American student Otto Warmbier about two months ago but it was only now revealed that the communications are still being conducted.

Sources close to the matter said that as of now, the attempts to convince North Korea to change its policy regarding the country’s missile program have failed. However, the back-channel communications will most likely lead to direct negotiations between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if they succeed.

The AP report stated that the officials in charge of the communications are Joseph Yun, the US envoy for the Trump administration's policy on North Korea, and Pak Song-il, a senior North Korean diplomat in the pariah state’s UN mission.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Meanwhile, it was reported that a fact sheet has been distributed among Guam residents in light of North Korea’s threat to attack the US territory. The guidelines were issued by the island’s homeland security department and include tips such as: “Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit.” However, Guam Governor Eddie Calvo stated that the island’s threat level has not been increased and that the area is “safe and sound.”

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