U.S. and Chinese diplomats on Wednesday discussed efforts by Beijing to reinvigorate a long-paralyzed process aimed at shuttering North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
In Beijing, Glyn Davies, the Obama administration's special envoy for North Korea policy, met with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei. China wants the United States to take part in semi-formal talks that it has proposed hosting next week with four additional nations: Japan, both Koreas and Russia.
"We remain open, of course, to dialogue with North Korea," Davies said on Tuesday in Seoul after meeting with his South Korean counterpart. "As a diplomat, I would like very much to get back to that. But I think it is important that we only do so when the conditions are right, when North Korea has reversed the direction in which it has been moving for many months now."
The six-party talks are aimed at convincing North Korea to permanently close its nuclear weapons program in exchange for considerable foreign-economic assistance and international-security guarantees. Washington and Seoul agree that Pyongyang has shown no sincere willingness to denuclearize, and thus negotiations at this time likely would be unproductive.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said discussions are still taking place around Beijing's proposal to hold the so-called Track 1.5 talks on Sept. 18.
"Talks are still ongoing," the spokesman said. "We will release relevant information in due course."
Meanwhile, an inter-Korean business complex in the North that has been closed since the eruption of tensions on the peninsula this spring is slated to begin operating again next week, CNN reported.
"Companies will begin re-operation from Sept. 16 on a test run," the South Korean Unification Ministry said in a statement.
Separately, the South Korean Defense Ministry plans to display its new precision-guided cruise missile in a parade in the South Korean capital in October, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday.
The domestically designed Hyunmu 3 missile was developed for possible precision strikes on North Korea's strategic assets. South Korea began fielding the weapon on its warships over the past year.
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the Seoul-based University of North Korean Studies, is concerned that the high-profile display of the cruise missile could antagonize Pyongyang and sour bilateral relations that have gradually improved since the spring.
"In light of the current situation, a low-key event is more desirable than a large-scale parade which is likely to irritate the North," the academic said.