Aug. 17, 2017
Best of the Week — First Winner
APNewsBreak: Beyond bluster, US, NKorea in regular contact
For weeks, the escalating back-and-forth between North Korea and the United States over possible nuclear conflict had made for headlines that were alarming at the least _ and to many, terrifying.
Amid all the bluster came an exclusive report from Matthew Pennington, foreign policy reporter in Washington, revealing that senior U.S. and North Korean diplomats have been maintaining a back-channel communication for the last several months, and that they'd moved on from an early focus on U.S. detainees to address the broader strains in the relationship.
At a time of heightened alert, the story pointed to a possible diplomatic path out of the crisis, and indicated that both U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be more flexible on the idea of negotiations than they are letting on. After days of bombastic threats from both sides, Pennington's reporting, which wins the Beat of the Week, provided a sobering reality check: the enemies aren't on an unavoidable path toward conflict.