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Preparations under way to set up unofficial talks in New York between N. Korea, U.S.: report

2017/02/20 07:44

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) -- Talks are under way to bring senior North Korean officials to New York in the coming weeks for unofficial talks with former U.S. officials, a news report said Sunday.

Choe Son-hui, director-general at the North Korean Foreign Ministry in charge of U.S. affairs, is expected to lead the North's delegation should the "Track 1.5" talks take place in the next few weeks, The Washington Post reported, citing unidentified sources.

Donald S. Zagoria, senior vice president of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, is organizing the talks but the planning has become complicated by the North's latest missile launch and the apparent assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the paper said.

The State Department has not yet approved the North Koreans' visas for the talks, it said.

Such unofficial talks have taken place in recent years, including talks in Kuala Lumpur in October and in Geneva in November. The U.S. State Department has disavowed any link to these talks, calling them "Track 2" meetings unrelated to the government.

jschang@yna.co.kr

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