News to the discussions comes days ahead of President Donald Trump and the second summit of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which will take place in Vietnam at the end of the month.
Trump and Kim met in Singapore last year and both leaders signed a joint statement in which they signed the pledges of each country "for new relations between the DPRK and the wishes of the peoples of the two countries Peace and Prosperity. "
This statement opened the door to some kind of formal relationship, if things went well, the sources added, adding that the current stalemate has left North Korea and awaited some significant US gestures.
The two high-level diplomatic sources said the first step forward could be the exchange of officers. On the US side, sources indicated that several liaison officers would be sent to North Korea, led by a high-ranking foreign officer who speaks Korean, should this plan progress.
A similar agreement was withdrawn in 1
994, with the "agreed framework" leading to extensive negotiations on the exchange of liaison offices in each country, beginning with up to seven officers. The US even went so far as to conclude a lease for the German mission. North Korea also investigated potential locations in Washington, DC.
But by the end of the following year, North Korea had repealed the entire plan, presumably due to tensions after a US helicopter had been shot down when it crossed the demilitarized zone in North Korea, late 1994.
Significant Stepping Down Despite Nuclear Inactivity
The talks, which are still tentative, could be an important step in US-North Korean negotiations A further departure from the saber-rattling that defined the early Trump-Kim relationship – all without important ones Steps on the part of North Korea to denuclearization.
When North Korea continued testing its nuclear weapons during Trump's first year in office, each side threatened until Trump made a meeting with Kim to discuss the North Korean nuclear program.
While North Korea has disrupted its nuclear weapons tests and tempered the rhetoric between the two nations, satellite images have shown that North Korea has developed an important long-range missile base and continues to operate at its weapons sites.
The US Supreme Commander of the Korean Peninsula told the Senate earlier this month that since Trump's first summit with Kim, North Korea's military capabilities have "hardly, if not demonstrably, changed". Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, also told the Senate late last month that North Korea will "try to maintain its WMD capabilities, and it is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons and production capacity entirely because of its nuclear weapons leaders […]
Trump officially announced the second summit in his speech on the state of the Union earlier this month. He challenged his government's efforts and stated, "There is still much to be done."
Eli Watkins of CNN contributed to this report.