The top two diplomats from South Korea and the U.S. have discussed upcoming international talks on North Korea's nuclear program by phone, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon pledged in the 10-minute conversation Wednesday night to work closely together to decide how to implement a 2005 accord that calls for North Korea to give up its nuclear program for security guarantees and aid, the ministry said.
No date has been set for the next round of negotiations involving China, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and the two Koreas, but officials say they should occur before mid-February.
The talks last convened in Beijing in December, but there was no breakthrough.
Hopes have grown that the next session could see real progress as North Korea has shown signs of willingness to implement the 2005 deal after the United States offered the communist state unspecified concessions during bilateral talks in Berlin last week.
Song was expected to leave for Beijing on Thursday for a three-day visit including talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and other officials on the nuclear and other issues.