BEIJING, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The top U.S. negotiator for North Korea's nuclear program said in Beijing Tuesday the resumption of six-nation talks may come as early as mid-December.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill made the remarks after bilateral and trilateral meetings with his counterparts from North Korea and China, which is hosting efforts to get the stalled talks back on track.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said he flew to Beijing on the "kind invitation" of Hill, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
Sources told the news agency the three envoys' main discussion point was what Pyongyang had to do and what sort of incentives it sought in exchange.
Kim told reporters his country's underground nuclear test Oct. 9 gave North Korea more leverage at the bargaining table.
"We can participate in the talks at any time with a dignified status, as we have taken all the defensive measures to counter sanctions and pressure through the nuclear test," Kim said.
North Korea has insisted for nearly a year the United States must lift economic sanctions against it before talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States can resume.