Reuters: US Engaging in Secret Diplomatic Overtures to North Korea
Reuters news agency says the United States is pursuing direct diplomacy behind the scenes with North Korea, despite the ongoing war of words between President Donald Trump and Pyongyang.
In an exclusive story published Wednesday, Reuters says it has learned from an unnamed State Department official that Joseph Yun, the U.S. special envoy to North Korea, has been speaking with diplomats stationed at the North's United Nations mission, utilizing what is known in the diplomatic trade as "the New York channel."
President Trump has openly vowed to destroy North Korea if the regime continues to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs. Pyongyang this year conducted it sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation and has test fired a number of missiles, including a purported intercontinental ballistic missile that, if perfected, could theoretically reach the U.S. mainland.
When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last month that Washington was seeking a diplomatic opening with Pyongyang, Trump went on Twitter and urged Tillerson to stop "wasting his time trying to negotiate with 'Little Rocket Man' "-- the derisive nickname he has bestowed on the young leader.
US to Vote 'No" on UN Resolution Condemning Economic Embargo on Cuba
The United States is expected to vote "no" when the U.N. General Assembly considers a resolution later Wednesday calling for an end to the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.
In a similar vote last year, the U.S. abstained for the first time as former President Barack Obama sought to normalize ties with Havana. While the Trump administration still plans to remain engaged with Cuba and champion U.S. interests, it has rolled back some of the progress made under Obama.
"For far too long, Cuba has engaged in human rights abuses that perhaps past administrations have turned and looked the other way," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday. There has been no comment yet from Cuba on Wednesday's pending vote.
U.N. General Assembly resolutions are nonbinding. But the delegates overwhelmingly vote every year in favor of urging the U.S. Congress to lift the 57 year-old embargo against Cuba. The resolution passed 191 to nothing last year, with the U.S. and Israel abstaining.
President Donald Trump has blamed Cuba for the mysterious sonic attacks that injured 24 U.S. diplomats and others in Havana earlier this year. The Americans suffered hearing loss, headaches, and dizziness.
Fifteen Cuban diplomats were expelled from Washington in retaliation. Trump did not specifically say who he thinks is responsible and U.S. investigators still do not know exactly who and what caused the injuries.
Cuban investigators say allegations that someone placed a sonic device outside the diplomats' homes in Havana are "science fiction."