August 15, 2017 / 5:24 AM / 2 years ago

North Korea says now is not time to discuss U.S. detainees: KCNA

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said on Tuesday now is not the right time to discuss U.S. citizens it has detained, given the state of relations between the two countries, its official KCNA news agency said citing a foreign ministry spokesman.

The spokesman was responding to media reports on the weekend, which said the United States had been engaging in back-channel diplomacy with North Korea for several months to discuss the issue of Americans detained in the isolated country.

North Korea, which released a Canadian pastor last week citing humanitarian grounds after imprisoning him for more than two years, is holding three Americans it accused of various offences.

Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Jane Chung

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