Report: US, North Korean officials met to negotiate nuclear deal

According to The Wall Street Journal, US diplomats have met with a senior North Korean official in an attempt to constrain Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
US student Otto Warmbier being released Photo credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

US diplomats have held secret meetings with a senior North Korean official for over a year, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The purpose of the talks was to negotiate the release of US prisoners and to attempt to establish a diplomatic channel to constrain North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

The official, Madame Choi Sun Hee, is fluent in English and is considered very close to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. It is believed that the release earlier this month of 22-year-old US student Otto Warmbier was a result of these talks.

Warmbier was arrested for theft in 2016 after allegedly stealing a political propaganda poster hung in his hotel. He was sentenced to 15 years' hard labor after issuing a confession, which his father said sounded forced.

Last week, Warmbier's parents discovered that he had been in a coma for over a year. North Korean authorities said the coma was the result of botulism.

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