The U.S. Is Reportedly Pursuing Direct Diplomacy with North Korea

November 1, 2017, 1:59 PM UTC

The United States is pursuing direct diplomacy with North Korea, according to a new Reuters report, despite U.S. president Donald Trump’s belief that it’s not worthwhile.

Until now, the U.S. limited itself to discussions about the release of American prisoners.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last month that he’d pursue diplomatic efforts “until the first bomb drops.” But President Trump has not shared that view, exchanging insults with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un through various media outlets.

In the meantime, North Korea—officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK—has continued development on nuclear and missile weapons, despite sanctions from various nations around the globe. This year the nation conducted its sixth nuclear detonation as well as test-firings of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that threaten to reach the U.S. mainland.

Nevertheless, recent discussions have “not been limited at all, both (in) frequency and substance,” a senior State Department official told Reuters.

China, which has long defended North Korea even as it has maintained relations with the U.S., an important trade partner, supported further discussion between the two countries.

“We encourage North Korea and the United States to carry out engagement and dialogue,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing.