Russia and China in recent days held bilateral talks on options for reinvigorating a moribund multinational process aimed at permanently ending North Korea's nuclear-weapons work, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
Wu Dawei, China's senior delegate to the six-nation talks, met on Monday in Beijing with his Russian counterpart in the frozen negotiations, Igor Morgulov, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.
The two negotiators "exchanged in-depth views on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the resumption of the six-party talks," the statement said.
The last round of the six-nation talks -- which include China, Japan, North and South Korea, Russia and the United States -- took place in December 2008.
The negotiating framework has called for rewarding Pyongyang for its phased shutdown of nuclear-weapon activities with timed concessions of peace agreements and foreign-economic aid. North Korea walked away from the talks in spring 2009, after which it rolled back earlier nuclear-dismantlement steps and significantly advanced its weapon and missile capabilities.
"We always maintain that the Korean nuclear issue should be solved through consultations and negotiations within the framework of the six-party talks," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing. "Therefore, we stay in touch with all relevant parties."
Beijing supports resuming the negotiations as soon as possible. However, Tokyo, Seoul and Washington have refused to return to the talks until Pyongyang demonstrates its commitment to irreversible denuclearization. In a series of recent semiformal meetings between former U.S. officials, senior North Korean officials are understood to have offered to implement a moratorium on further nuclear and long-range missile tests once the six-party talks get underway.