Washington has invited a senior diplomat to New York so that the U.S. and North Korea can begin "exploratory" talks in an effort to resume denuclearization negotiations.
However, the U.S. is in "no rush" to resume nuclear talks with North Korea, with a U.S. official on Monday describing the talks as "preliminary" and not necessarily a move toward restarting six-nation talks, Reuters reports.
"We need to see many more indications from the North Koreans before we approach that point," the official reportedly said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Sunday that North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kae-gwan — North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator for years — would visit the U.S. discuss what needs to be done to restart the dialogue with Pyongyang which has been suspended since 2009.
The visit comes after the first round of talks between North Korea and the Republic of Korea, at which the two sides agreed to resume the six-party talks that would include the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
"This will be an exploratory meeting to determine if North Korea is prepared to affirm its obligations under international and Six Party Talk commitments, as well as take concrete and irreversible steps toward denuclearization," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Hong Kong at the end of a world tour, said in a statement, CNN reports. "We are open to talks with North Korea, but we do not intend to reward the North just for returning to the table."
Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told reporters Monday: "We are going to lay out very clearly our expectations for what will be necessary to resume not only six-party talks but direct engagement between the United States and North Korea.
"We have very clear pre-steps related to nuclear issues, related to proliferation concerns, that we will need to see clearly articulated by the North Koreans if we are to go forward."