Canadian bureaucrats hosted five North Korean officials in Ottawa last year for closed-door talks on human rights and denuclearization, a senior government official has confirmed to CTV News.

The rare meeting lasted over a period of three or four days last September.

The senior government official said the talks were with Canadian bureaucrats, and not a political-level discussion. Diplomatic relations with North Korea remain unchanged.

The federal government continues to push for denuclearization and remains critical of the country’s human rights transgressions as they have in the past, the senior official said.

The meeting, which was disclosed to the U.S. before and after, was not the first between the two countries. Canadian officials went to Pyongyang in August 2017 to discuss the case of then-imprisoned Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim who was charged with crimes against the state. Lim had been held since 2015, but was released that month after the talks.

There were no immediate plans for the countries to meet again.