US, regional powers may meet on N. Korea next month

The US, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan may hold talks next month on neutralizing North Korea's rogue nuclear program after the secretive regime abruptly ended a formal six-nation disarmament dialogue by conducting an atomic test, an official said Saturday. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak floated the idea of bringing together officials of the five countries during his summit with President Barack Obama at the White House this past week, the South Korean Foreign Ministry official said. The US and Japan have voiced support for the five-way talks but China and Russia have yet to reply to Seoul's proposal, the official said, requesting anonymity because he was discussing a plan still in the works. The official said "it remains to be seen" where or when the meeting - if it materializes - will take place, but one possibility is on the sidelines of a regional security forum scheduled in Phuket, Thailand in July. "We have to see how things will play out," he said.