The talks are being conducted using a New York channel through the United Nations, it has been reported.
Key players in the talks are reported to be Joseph Yun, a former US ambassador to Malaysia and now the US special representative for North Korea policy, and North Korea’s senior diplomat, Choe Son Hui, who is head of the Foreign Ministry’s North American office.
Previous secret talks between the countries in Norway are understood to have led to the release of American student Otto Warmbier from North Korea.
Robert Einhorn, a former State Department official and now Brookings senior fellow who was involved in the Norway talks, said: “Since that episode, I’m told that the ‘New York channel’ has been resurrected and there are periodic contacts.
The current back-channel talks between the two nations have been going on for several months, it was reported last week.
Mr Einhorn said the New York channel was resurrected after being interrupted about a year ago when the Obama administration imposed sanctions on North Korea for human rights violations, and also designated dictator Kim Jong Un as one of the targeted individuals.
He said: The North Koreans retaliated by cutting off the New York channel, and what that meant was no official contacts between the United States and North Korea.
Mr Einhorn was also sceptical about the prospect of the US engaging in a formal dialogue with Pyongyang to talk about denuclearisation of North Korea.
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He said: The impression that the US has is that the North Koreans are not eager for such a dialogue.
The US has indicated that before talks can begin that the North Koreans would have to take some steps to demonstrate their sincerity.”
James Carafano, vice president of foreign and defence policy studies at the Heritage Institute, said: “Back-channels are useful tools for sending messages back and forth but they won’t be any kind of path forward in terms of setting up negotiations or resolving things.
Meanwhile, the North Korean regime yesterday said that South Korean President Moon Jae-in miserably failed to improve ties between the two nations during his first 100 days in office.
Rodong Sinmun, the hermit kingdoms propaganda mouthpiece, said: “In particular, he failed in inter-Korean relations.
He spoke of dialogue and an implementation of inter-Korean agreements, but in reality, he acted in the opposite direction.”
Mr Moon marked his 100th day in office on Thursday.
The South Korean Presidents parents were refugees from North Korea.