U.S., China agree to work closely for N. Korea's denuclearization

Senior U.S. and Chinese diplomats agreed Tuesday to work closely in trying to bring back North Korea to "meaningful" discussions on its nuclear disarmament.

"We both share an interest in getting back to the six-party talks as soon as possible," Glyn Davies, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, told reporters at a Beijing hotel after holding talks with Chinese Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and his counterpart Wu Dawei.

Davies, however, said since there has been no sign so far that North Korea intends to honor its past obligations on its nuclear programs, he and the Chinese side discussed "how best to seek to move" Pyongyang "to put pressure on" it to return to "meaningful, authentic and credible discussions of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The six-party talks, which also involve Japan, Russia and South Korea, have been deadlocked since late 2008.

North Korea has called for an unconditional resumption of the aid-for-nuclear-disarmament talks, but the United States, Japan and South Korea remain reluctant to do so until Pyongyang first takes concrete and credible measures toward giving up its nuclear program.

The three-day visit by Davies, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday on the first leg of the tour before visiting Seoul and Tokyo, comes as North Korea is increasingly making conciliatory gestures to South Korea in recent days, most notably, expressing its willingness to resume reunions of families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Davies said while it is uncertain whether the reunions, last held in 2010, will actually materialize, the United States is "very supportive" of them and hoping that they will go forward "without any linkage to any other issues."

Before leaving for Seoul, Davies also said he and the Chinese officials discussed North Korea's internal situation since the sudden execution last month of leader Kim Jong Un's once-powerful uncle "in great depth" but stopped short of disclosing the specifics.