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US Businessman Helped Boost US-North Korea Ties Via Trump's Son-in-Law - Reports

© AP Photo / Evan VucciWhite House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens during the "American Leadership in Emerging Technology" event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Washington
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens during the American Leadership in Emerging Technology event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Washington - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A wealthy US businessman living in Singapore named Gabriel Schulze helped North Korean officials to establish informal contacts with the United States through Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and aide, The New York Times newspaper reported Sunday.

According to the newspaper, the North Koreans went to Schulze and offered him to organize a secret communication channel with the White House via Kushner.

Schulze met Kushner and told him about this proposal. Kushner did not contact the North Koreans directly but notified then-Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Mike Pompeo, who was engaged in further negotiations.

READ MORE: Trump Calls Cessation of Military Drills Near Korean Peninsula Own Initiative

The White House, the CIA and Schulze declined to comment on the issue, the publication said.

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The newspaper noted that more than a dozen people have contacted the US State Department over the last year, arguing that they could help establish contacts with Pyongyang. In most cases, these statements were not confirmed.

Michael J. Green, who worked in the George W. Bush administration on the North Korean issue, confirmed to the newspaper that Pyongyang often used mediators to establish relations with the United States.

As suggested by the publication, there were internal tensions within the administration over who should contact the North Koreans: the CIA or the State Department. When then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that he supported two or three direct lines of communication with Pyongyang, Trump publicly said that Tillerson should "save his energy." Soon thereafter, Tillerson was removed from office and was replaced by Pompeo, who continued his diplomacy with Pyongyang.

READ MORE: Trump Is 'No Fool,' Peace Possible With North Korea, Independent Strategist Says

On Tuesday, Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a historic summit in Singapore and committed the United States and North Korea to establishing new bilateral relations and building a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. Trump also agreed to halt US-South Korea military exercises near the Korean peninsula and to provide security guarantees to Pyongyang, while Kim reiterated his country’s commitment to denuclearization.

The South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo earlier reported, citing informed diplomatic sources that Pyongyang, during the preparation for the summit, demanded from Washington to establish diplomatic relations and abolish sanctions. At the moment, there is no formal relationship between the countries.

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