The United States said on Thursday that North Korea should return to the six-party talks as soon as possible and said it can have direct talks with the United States within the context of six-party talks.
"I think the main point here is that North Korea really needs to return to those six-party talks so that we can move forward on implementing the September 9th joint statement. We believe that those talks should resume as soon as possible," acting State Department spokesman Tom Casey said at a briefing.
"I don't think the issue here is really direct talks between the United States and North Korea. We have direct talks with the North Koreans in the context of the six-party talks," Casey said.
Casey's remarks came after the media reported that North Korea invited Christopher Hill, head of the US delegation to the six-party talks, to go to Pyongyang with an aim to re-start the stalled talks.
During the last round of six-party talks in Beijing in September last year, North Korea agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in return for security guarantees and energy aids.
However, North Korea has said it will not return to the talks if the United States does not lift the sanctions imposed on the country last year.
(Xinhua News Agency June 2, 2006)