A matter of days after North Korea granted U.S. media a rare interview with the three American detainees, the United States said it had restarted its own diplomatic channel with the communist regime to secure their release.
Speaking at a forum on Thursday, Washington's new chief nuclear envoy Sydney Seiler said efforts to bring the U.S. citizens home are being made through the "New York channel" as well as the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang.
The so-called "New York channel" refers to meetings between North Korea's UN delegation and U.S. officials.
Seiler noted the three detainees have posed significant obstacles to U.S.-North Korea ties and urged Pyongyang to act in a humane and right way.
Washington may not be alone in seeking to remove these barriers to friendlier ties.
Letting CNN and the Associated Press interview the three Americans could be Pyongyang's latest attempt to push for fresh dialogue with Washington
North Korea has a history of using U.S. detainees as negotiating chips for talks with the United States.
The latest developments come a couple of weeks before North Korea's foreign minister travels to New York City for the UN General Assembly.
Attention is focusing on whether his trip could bring the two foes a little closer together.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.