The United States on Tuesday said it had held constructive talks with China about North Korea, amid concerns about a potential forthcoming nuclear test.
The Obama administration's special envoy for North Korea policy, Glyn Davies, met with Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, on Monday in New York. The two diplomats also conferred on Tuesday in New York and plan to engage again on Thursday in Washington, the Yonhap News Agency reported. They did not speak to the press.
"The United States and China agree on the fundamental importance of a denuclearized North Korea," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in briefing reporters on the "productive" bilateral talks.
Pyongyang has issued repeated warnings in recent weeks that it is prepared to conduct its fourth atomic explosion and has said the test would take a "new" form.
Unconfirmed press reports have said that Washington recently agreed to relax its conditions for returning to multinational negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program. Previously, the Obama administration had demanded the North take certain concrete steps toward proving its commitment to irreversible denuclearization before six-nation nuclear talks are resumed. However, Washington, Seoul and Tokyo are reported to have agreed they would now return to the talks if the North first implements a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.
China is also a participant in the nuclear talks and is understood to have been pushing the United States to ease its stance on negotiations.
Meanwhile, U.S. and South Korean military officials on Tuesday began two days of high-level talks at the Pentagon that focused, among other things, on extended deterrence toward North Korea, Yonhap separately reported.
Later this week, Japan will join the two countries for three-way security talks that will also focus on the North.