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US quietly pursuing negotiations with North Korea: report

US quietly pursuing negotiations with North Korea: report
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The U.S. is working to negotiate with North Korea using diplomatic means despite President Trump's claim that such efforts are useless, according to Reuters.

Joseph Yun, who works as a U.S. negotiator with North Korea, is using the so-called New York channel to communicate with his North Korean counterparts, according to the news outlet. 

A senior State Department official told the publication that Yun has asked his counterparts in Pyongyang to halt their testing of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles.

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Despite the reported dialogue, there has not appeared to be an improvement in relations between the U.S. and North Korea. 

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Pentagon watchdog to probe extremism in US military | FBI chief warns of 'online chatter' ahead of inauguration | House conservative bloc opposes Austin waiver Conservative caucus opposes waiver for Biden's Pentagon pick Overnight Defense: National Guard boosts DC presence ahead of inauguration | Lawmakers demand probes into troops' role in Capitol riot | Financial disclosures released for Biden Pentagon nominee MORE warned last week during a visit to South Korea that the threat from North Korea had "accelerated."

“North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs,” Mattis said during a visit to South Korea, alongside Song Young-moo, the country's defense minister, in comments reported by The Associated Press.

Trump has ratcheted up rhetoric toward North Korea in light of the country's recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests. 

Trump vowed on the floor of the United Nations last month to "totally destroy" North Korea if it attacked the U.S. or its allies.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in turn called Trump a "mentally deranged dotard," and the country's foreign minister threatened to drop a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean in response to Trump's U.N. address. 

Trump seemingly lashed out at Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTillerson: 'We squandered the best opportunity we had on North Korea' State Department sets up new bureau for cybersecurity and emerging technologies Lawmakers express concern about lack of young people in federal workforce MORE last month on Twitter, saying he was wasting his time for negotiating with North Korea.