Report: U.S., North Korea officials to meet for informal talks

Sept. 28 (UPI) — Former U.S. officials and North Korean diplomats could soon meet for a round of informal talks known as Track 1.5, according to a Japanese newspaper.

The Asahi Shimbun reported Thursday former U.S. officials and experts are expected to make “informal contact” with North Koreans in Oslo around mid-October.

The Asahi was quoting a source familiar with U.S.-Korea relations.

The newspaper also reported past U.S. officials, who negotiated with Han Song Ryol in 2016, could be included in the informal delegation.

Those officials could include any member of the delegation who traveled to Malaysia last year: former Clinton administration negotiator Robert Gallucci; Leon Sigal, a North Korea specialist; and former U.S. special envoy for North Korea Joseph DeTrani.

Han is a vice foreign minister at Pyongyang’s foreign ministry.

Choi Sun Hee, the North America bureau chief of Pyongyang’s foreign ministry, may represent North Korea, but the U.S. side requested either Han or Kim Kye Gwan, a senior North Korea diplomat who met with U.S. officials in 2007.

It is unlikely the United States will send any officials currently serving in the Trump administration.

The goal of the talks is to mitigate conflict between the United States and North Korea, according to the Asahi.

Choi, who is in Moscow, will meet with Oleg Burmistrov, Russia’s ambassador-at-large, and deputy head of the Russian delegation for the six-party talks on Friday, NHK reported.

Choi and Burmistrov are expected to address ways to resume dialogue with the United States, and other relevant countries.

The Russian official may urge Pyongyang to refrain from weapons development.

Russia and China have both called for diplomatic solutions to the crisis on the peninsula.

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