Government officials and academics from the United States, China and South Korea held a meeting Monday in Seoul aimed at coordinating policies to achieve North Korea's denuclearization.
The closed-door talks, being held at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, are part of the so-called "1.5-track" dialogue advanced by South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se with the aim of stepping up trilateral policy consultation on North Korea.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula rose in the wake of North Korea's third nuclear test in February and the latest U.N. sanctions imposed on the country.
South Korean President Park Geun Hye's government had reportedly wanted to hold a strategic dialogue involving only government officials from the three countries, but the United States and China were both lukewarm to the idea.
It gave rise to speculation South Korea sought to bypass Japan, with which bilateral ties are strained over divergent perceptions of history and a territorial dispute over a pair of South Korea-controlled islet in the Sea of Japan.