A former high-ranking official of the Obama administration met with North Korean officials in the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator, last Friday.
A source with knowledge of the meeting said in an interview with VOA's Korean service that Robert Einhorn, formerly Special Advisor for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control at the State Department, met with North Korean officials including Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho.
The meeting has drawn interest because it was held amid North Korea’s threat of an additional nuclear test and because Einhorn was a key figure in implementing U.S. sanctions on Pyongyang until last year.
Joel Witt, a former State Department official, and Robert Carlin, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst, also were present at the Ulan Bator meeting.
The two sides held informal talks on a broad range of topics of mutual concern, including North Korea’s nuclear development and the resumption of the long-stalled six-party negotiations aimed at North Korea’s denuclearization.
There was no known progress regarding most outstanding issues.
The State Department said the U.S. government had nothing to do with the Ulan Bator meeting, saying all the U.S. participants were private citizens.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.