Rice to discuss nuclear issue with N. Korea foreign minister

Top diplomats from the US and North Korea will meet next week along with their counterparts from regional nuclear talks, US and South Korean officials said Friday, the highest level of contact between the countries amid recent progress on Pyongyang's disarmament. The talks, which will include US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun, will take place on the sidelines of an Asian security meeting in Singapore that all the countries' foreign ministers had already planned to attend, said US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "On the sidelines of that meeting, I would expect that there will be an informal ministerial level meeting of the six-party ministers," McCormack said, though he added the contacts would not yield "specific outcomes." A South Korean official had earlier also said the diplomats would meet at the summit. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the organizer of the nuclear talks, China, had not yet made a formal announcement about the meeting.