There's been talk of North and South Korea conducting their own nuclear talks before the resumption of the six-nation talks on North Korea's denuclearization stalled since 2008, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
However, relations between the countries have worsened since the Communist North conducted its second nuclear test followed by a number of missile launches two years ago. Last year, South Korea blamed the North for the sinking of a warship which killed dozens of its sailors and also for shelling a South Korean border island.
In his comments, foreign ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae said these issues must be addressed to make any progress in other areas of diplomacy, including the six-party talks, Yonhap reported.
"Regardless of whether this is a precondition or not, it's clear that resolving this issue will have an effect on all forms of inter-Korean dialogue and on the six-party process," he said. "We believe it is difficult to expect any particular progress in other areas without a discussion and resolution of this issue."
The six nations in the de-nuclearization talks include the two Koreas, Japan, China, the United States and Russia.