The Associated Press is reporting the Trump administration has quietly engaged in back-channel diplomacy with North Korea for several months.
It was known the two sides had discussions to secure the June release of an American university student, but it wasn't known until now that the contact has continued or that the talks broached matters other than US detainees.
US officials and others familiar with the exchanges said they're occurring between the US envoy for North Korea policy and a senior North Korean diplomat at the country's UN mission.
The diplomats have discussed other Americans imprisoned in the communist country and deteriorating relations between the longtime foes, amid heightened fears of military confrontation.
The officials weren't authorised to speak publicly on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.