US North Korea envoy calls for "serious negotiations"
"Serious negotiations" are key to any strategy for dealing with the communist regime in Pyongyang, the US special representative for North Korea said Tuesday, DPA reported.
Stephen Bosworth arrived in South Korea for discussions on how to defuse tensions between North and South Korea, and ways to resume multilateral talks to end the North's nuclear weapons programme.
"We are here to consult and coordinate our positions on the way forward in dealing with North Korea," Bosworth was quoted as saying by the Yonhap News Agency, adding that Washington was looking forward to launching negotiations "at a reasonably early time."
He is scheduled to meet with South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, Wi Sung Lac, Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan and Unification Minister Hyun In Taek Wednesday before departing for Beijing.
Bosworth is to wrap up his trip in Tokyo on Thursday.
Concerns have risen in recent weeks amid increasing tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul and revelations over a uranium-enrichment facility at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex.
China has called for restarting the six-party talks, which also involve North and South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States in a bid to reduce tension, but met with a lukewarm reaction from Seoul and Washington, who demand Pyongyang first shows some commitment to negotiations.
The State Department announced last week that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates would travel to East Asia on January 9 to visit China, Japan and South Korea.