South Korea's vice foreign minister confirmed on Wednesday news reports that the United States recently offered to hold one-on-one talks with North Korea.
News agencies reported Tuesday that the chief US nuclear envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, proposed a meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye Gwan, during a recent stop in China but that the North rejected it.
"I understand that Assistant Secretary Hill made such a gesture on his own initiative in an effort to resume" six-nation talks on the North's nuclear program, South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told a news briefing.
But Yu said Hill's proposed meeting would have been held under the framework of the multilateral nuclear talks.
North Korea has demanded direct talks with the US, but Washington has previously refused, saying it would only speak to the North in a multilateral framework.