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U.S. envoy to hold talks in Beijing amid N. Korea's charm offensive

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Published : 2014-01-27 14:20
Updated : 2014-01-27 14:20

The U.S. special envoy for North Korea was set to hold talks with senior Chinese officials on Monday to discuss their policy toward the North as Pyongyang pushes Seoul to cancel annual military drills with Washington.

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies arrived in Beijing late Sunday on the first leg of his three-nation trip that will also take him to South Korea and Japan this week.

Despite North Korea's recent string of concessions, including last week's sudden proposal of resuming reunions for families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War, Pyongyang has shown no willingness to give up its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has warned of an unspecified disaster if Seoul and Washington go ahead with the planned military drills set to start from late February, but the allies have vowed the drills will be conducted as scheduled.

While the North has repeated its typical pattern of charm offensives and brinkmanship, concerns remain high over potential instability in Pyongyang's leadership following last month's shocking execution of leader Kim Jong-un's uncle, Jang Song-thaek.

Upon his arrival at Beijing airport on Sunday, Davies pressed North Korea to take steps toward denuclearization.

In Beijing, Davies is due to meet with Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and China's top nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei.

Since its third and most powerful nuclear test in February last year, North Korea has repeatedly expressed its willingness to reopen the six-party talks "without preconditions," but Seoul and Washington have demand Pyongyang demonstrate its sincerity first by taking steps toward denuclearization.

China has been more accommodating toward North Korea, urging South Korea and the U.S. to lower their bar for Pyongyang to sit down at the negotiating table.

The six-party talks, which involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, have been dormant since late 2008. (Yonhap News)

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