Envoys to six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program were due to arrive in Beijing on Wednesday for what Pyongyang's top negotiator has called make-or-break discussions.
The chief US envoy to the talks - aimed at ridding the North of its nuclear weapons - said Wednesday while en route to Beijing from Tokyo that negotiations were entering an "important phase." North Korea has warned they could go back to "square one" without progress this week in Beijing.
The US envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, was scheduled to arrive in Beijing later in the day, the US Embassy said.
Envoys from Japan and South Korea also were due to arrive Wednesday or early Thursday, joining their counterparts from Russia and China, the other two countries involved, for the latest round of discussions to begin Thursday.