China Presses for Resumption of Six-Party Talks

At a Foreign Ministry briefing on Thursday, spokesman Jiang Yu urged all sides in the talks to "keep calm, exercise restraint and meet each other halfway."

South Korea, meanwhile, announced that its top nuclear negotiator, Wi Sung-lac, is on his way to Washington for talks with senior U.S. officials on Friday morning. China's nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, met with the same officials in the U.S. capital on Wednesday.

North Korea, which broke off the aid-for-denuclearization talks last year, now appears eager to see them resume. Chinese press reports said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il delivered that message to Chinese President Hu Jintao during a visit to China last week.

South Korea and its main allies -- the United States and Japan -- have been saying North Korea needs to show its good faith before the talks can resume. A U.S. State Department spokesman (P.J. Crowley) said this week that Pyongyang should first fulfill its past nuclear commitments.

The six nations involved in the talks are North Korea, South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP, Korea Herald and Xinhua