United States briefed Seoul on its mission
Seoul was not completely isolated while Pyongyang and Washington were arranging the release. The government was thoroughly briefed by the United States about the development, it said.
Ministry spokesman Noh Kwangil issued a statement and welcomed the release of the Americans. “Seoul and Washington consulted about the American detainees’ release through the U.S. Embassy in Korea and the United States will debrief us in a few days,” a Foreign Ministry official said. “It was a humanitarian mission, and U.S. policy toward North Korea will remain unchanged.”
Foreign Ministry officials said that sending the director of national intelligence as a special envoy – and not a State Department official – was intended to send the North a signal warning against hasty optimism.