Senior U.S. and Chinese officials on Monday assessed the security climate in North Korea amid reports of ongoing purges and executions by Pyongyang.
Speaking in Beijing, U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy Glyn Davies said he and Chinese officials reviewed "in great depth" the domestic situation in the North, where the surprise December execution of Jang Song Thaek -- the uncle of ruler Kim Jong Un -- has unnerved the East Asia region and raised questions about the stability of the Kim regime, Kyodo News reported.
In recent days, multiple reports from unidentified sources described further executions of relatives and associates of Jang, prompting heightened global concerns. Were there to be an abrupt government collapse in Pyongyang, it could have disastrous implications for the security of the nation's nuclear devices or materials.
Davies told reporters he discussed with senior Chinese officials how best "to put pressure" on the North to engage in "credible" denuclearization negotiations.
The special envoy is next scheduled to travel to Seoul where, on Wednesday, he is to meet with senior South Korean nuclear negotiator Cho Tae-yong for more talks about the North Korean nuclear impasse, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The discussions probably will look at the internal security situation in the North as well as Kim's recent peace overtures to the South, unidentified Seoul officials said.
North Korean government newspaper Rodong Sinmun in a Tuesday editorial renewed calls for Seoul to accept Pyongyang's offer for a mutual truce on provocative activities and armed hostilities, Yonhap separately reported.